Otoplasty – The Art Of Reshaping The Ear

Otoplasty is essentially the reshaping of the outer ear through surgery. This is done to correct deformities or give the ears a better look. This procedure can either be reconstructive or cosmetic in nature. Building up the outer ear, following an injury, would fall under the category of reconstructive otoplasty. An example of a cosmetic otoplasty would be the pinning back of prominent ears. In either case, a person receiving an otoplasty will have a lot more confidence in themselves, and their appearance, after the procedure.

Some individuals are self-conscious about their ears sticking out too much. A person’s self-esteem can be severely impacted by prominent ears. Additionally, some of these individuals experience psychological distress and embarrassment. Children who have protruding ears may be subjected to teasing, or worse, distressing and unpleasant bullying. This could eventually affect their behavior and their emotional well-being.

Otoplastic Techniques

These techniques are performed to replace, reconstruct, and correct a defective or deformed ear. Surgery can involve remodeling the cartilage. During surgery, the ear can also be positioned so that it is closer to the head; missing folds can be created as well. For best results, the surgery should be performed subsequent to the ears reaching their full size. At 5 years old, most children will have full-sized ears.

Types of Otoplasty

Three main types of this procedure exist. They are:

  • Otopexy

This involves the pinning back or “flattening” of the ear.

  • Ear Augmentation

This is done when the pinna, which is the outer part of the ear, is non-existent or underdeveloped.

  • Ear Reduction

This involves making the pinna smaller.

Before the surgery, a general consultation will take place with the surgeon to first determine what type of surgery will need to take place. Afterwards, possibly 1 or 2 pre-operative visits may take place where the patient is assessed and measured around the surgical area. In many augmentation cases, a mold model is made prior to surgery. In children, surgery is usually done under general anesthesia. For adults, intravenous sedation with a supplement of local anesthesia is generally used. To start the procedure, an incision is made behind the ear. The duration of the surgery is between 1 and 2 hours.

Otoplasty is mainly performed by ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeons, plastic surgeons, and pediatric surgeons. Dr. Patt is a leading facial plastic surgeon in Houston. Contact our office today to find out how he can help you.