The first step for all of our otoplasty patients is to meet with the surgeon we feel is best placed to perform your procedure for a consultation. At the consultation you will be able to discuss with your surgeon what your hope to achieve from the procedure, as well as discuss in detail what may or may not be possible given your existing anatomy.
Your surgeon will take you through the options available to you, and which is the most preferential for you given your stated ambitions. Having established this, several key measurements will be made and standard clinical photography will be taken.
Some common questions to ask at your otoplasty consultation include:
How many procedures of this type have you performed?
Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
What technique will you use to get the best results?
Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at for each procedure and what are reasonable results?
What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the outcome of my ear surgery?
Finally a comprehensive discussion regarding risks and complications will take place, alongside a discussion regarding what to expect in the post procedure and recovery phase. Your previous medical history will also be recorded (including previous surgery, medications, allergies etc.) and an assessment of your fitness for surgery.
If your surgeon feels you are a good candidate for surgery, you are then invited to consider whether you would like to proceed for surgery or otherwise following a two week 'cooling off' period.
Within this period you are welcome to come in and discuss your potential surgery with your surgeon as many times as you like.
If you choose to proceed with surgery, the next time you come into the Clinic after your final consultation will be the day of your procedure. Before admission the following behavioural changes are recommended / required:
In the 6 weeks before your procedure we recommend smoking is discontinued as patients who smoke have a higher risk of healing more slowly and complications
In the week before your procedure you must cease taking Aspirin or any medication that contains Aspirin
In the 6 hours prior to surgery you must not consume food or any drink, other than small sips of clear fluid (e.g. still water, black coffee, black tea) which are allowed up to 2 hours before admission
On the day of your procedure we ask that you arrive for your admission an hour before the agreed start time of surgery. At this point a nurse will come and record blood pressure and other relevant vitals, you will meet with your anaesthetist and your surgeon who will make the final mark-ups.
The procedure itself typically takes place under local anaesthetic over the course of one to two hours. First you will receive some anaesthesia in the ear region, then incisions will be made in several discrete areas, typically in the folds of the ear or on the back surface behind the ear.
Your surgeon will make a cut at the back of your ear and peel off some skin from the cartilage. They will change the shape of the cartilage so your ear lies closer to your head. If your ears are not symmetrical (evenly shaped on both sides) you surgeon may correct this as well. The technique they choose to use depends on the goals specific to your ear pinning procedure. After your surgeon reshapes the cartilage, they will secure it into its new position with permanent sutures. They will then close the wound discretely with stitches and apply a tight bandage around your head to stabilise the ears in their new position.
Any scarring should be well hidden behind the ear.
You should not feel much pain during the procedure, but you may have some for a few days or weeks afterwards. You'll be given painkillers if you need them.
Following the procedure, you will recover in our ambulatory recovery rooms for between one to two hours, dependent on the scale of the procedure. You will be wearing a head bandage to aid with your recovery.
Once our specialist nursing team are happy that your initial recovery is complete and you are safe to return home, you will be allowed to leave the Clinic accompanied by a friend or member of your family.
Once home you will have access to our dedicated on-call nursing team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This team of specialists are dedicated to your comfort and pain control, and are there to field any questions you may have in the immediate post operative phase.
We ask that you come in and see our nursing team 1 week after surgery to ensure your incision sites have been properly reviewed. At this juncture we also recommend you meet with one of our on site aestheticians to discuss ongoing treatment to support the healing and scarring process.
We ask that you come in to see your surgeon after 4 weeks for a final check up.
You are suitable for Ear Reshaping surgery if you are:
+ Over 5 years old (when the ear cartilage is stable enough for correction) + Healthy individual with realistic expectations of what surgery can achieve + Do not have chronic or untreated ear infection
Surgery is typically performed under local anaesthetic, and can be completed in an hour or less.
There are many different techniques depending on whether your ear is being reshaped, resized or repositioned.
If your surgeon is aiming to pin your ears back closer to your head, your surgeon will start by making an incision along the crease-line behind your ear and remove any excess cartilage that is causing it to protrude. The ear is then pinned back along the fold to its new position, closer to the head.
Following the surgery, the area will be stitched up and a dressing wrapped around your head to support the cartilage in its new place.
The procedure itself takes place under local anaesthetic so you will be comfortable and not feel any pain.
Most patients only have minor pain and discomfort during the days following the ear reshaping surgery, this can be controlled with over the counter medications such as paracetamol and anti-inflammatory tablets.
Ears can be tender for 1-2 weeks following the initial surgery if the patient bumps their ear. However, by this time most patients are pain-free.
You should see results from your surgery almost immediately, but typically we recommend waiting for between 1 and 2 weeks to allow any bruising or swelling to subside, before you can expect to see your full results
There should be no visible scarring following your ear reshaping surgery. This is because the incisions should be skilfully placed in the natural folds and lines of the ears or behind it, to ensure no scarring will be seen.
Although prominent or abnormal ears do not cause any hearing difficulties, they can be a source of bullying for children. It is therefore quite common for children to have an ear pinning.
Children should be 6 years of age or older since at this point the ears have fully matured. It is also preferable to wait for an age when a child is able to express their unhappiness with their appearance, and personally wish to have the position or shape of their ears corrected.
There are no differences in the surgical techniques used for children and adults, although children are more likely to have the procedure done under a general anaesthetic.
Otoplasty is minor surgery and complications are typically those associated with such surgery. This can include:
+ Asymmetry + Bleeding and bruising is the most common risk and there is always some swelling. The purpose of the head bandage is to reduce this risk and speed healing. + Scarring - scars are typically behind the ear and not visilbe, but on occasions, these scars can become hypertrophic, that is raised and pink, gradually resolving over some months, or even keloid with scars that continue to grow to the point where they may become visible. We can mitigate this with the Cadogan Clinic scar treatment + Infection and necrosis (loss of tissue) + Numbness + Re-protrusion + Stiffness of the ear
To enquire about a consultation with a Ear Reshaping (Otoplasty) specialist, please complete the form below.
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