Ear Reshaping (Otoplasty)
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Some people may say that getting teased on the playground is a rite of passage: everyone has to go through it. And while nobody escapes childhood taunts, some teasing can be very cruel, affecting a child's self-esteem. Ears that stick out - projecting too far - can be the cause of painful ridicule for children.
Ear reshaping, or Otoplasty, reshapes protruding ears, repositioning them closer to the head and creating a more balanced looking appearance. Otoplasty also fixes ears that are too large, deformed, missing, or injured. Otoplasty is most commonly performed on children above the ages of five or six (it's important that the procedure is performed after cartilage stops growing), and adults can get the surgery as well.
About the Procedure
Ear Reshaping, when correcting protruding ears, is a surgical procedure performed on an out-patient basis under a local anesthesia, so there is no need to spend the night in the hospital. Some children may benefit from having a slight sedative, as well, to help them remain still and calm. Incisions are made in the back of the ears (to limit visible scarring) and the cartilage is re-shaped by removing a limited amount of cartilage or another method that allows the ears to lay closer to the head. Sutures not only close the incision but also help to support the new positioning.
Afterwards the head is bandaged to reduce swelling and promote healing. Most people take four to five days off before returning to school or work. More strenuous activities can be resumed in two to three weeks.
Risks and Complications
All surgeries come with some level of risks. With Otoplasty there is some risk of infection or hematoma, but this is very rare. It is important to follow your physician's post-op instructions, including taking any antibiotics or needed pain medication. Sleeping with your head elevated for several days will also help the healing process.
Overall, Otoplasty patients tend to highly satisfied with the results. Having one's ears reshaped can re-instill self-confidence and create an over-all nicer appearance.