EAR SURGERY - OTOPLASTY
Ear surgery typically serves two functions: setting prominent ears back closer to the head and reducing the size of large ears. Surgery may also be helpful for large or stretched earlobes and lobes with large creases and wrinkles. During your initial consultation, Dr. Harrison will explain which ear structures are imbalanced and what steps will be taken to achieve your desired look while maintaining a natural un-operated appearance postoperatively.
What You See- Prominent ears…they stick out more than you want. Chances are you were born with prominent ears and it has bothered you since grade school. This genetic deformity is easily corrected with out-patient surgery and yields consistent results that will make you wonder why you did not do it sooner.
Best Candidate- The best candidate is a patient who has prominent ear deformity and is self-conscious about the appearance of their ears. Candidates for this operation need to be emotionally and physically healthy and prepared to take surgical steps to correct the deformity. The only non-surgical fix for this condition is long hair!
Risks & Complications- All surgery carries some uncertainty and risk but when performed by a qualified plastic surgeon complications are infrequent and usually minor. The common effects of any surgical procedure can be expected and will include: swelling, pain, scarring, bruising, the need for mechanical exterior support to the ears and fatigue from anesthesia.
Complications can include: ear pain, asymmetry, infection, fluid collection/seroma, recurrence of ear prominence (rare), and hematoma.
Before Surgery- Prior to your first appointment, you will be asked by the staff to register on My Touch MD, watch relevant videos and read information about the procedure you desire. The surgical consultation with Dr. Harrison will take about an hour and he will explain which ear structures are imbalanced and what steps will be taken to achieve your desired look while maintaining a natural un-operated appearance postoperatively. A surgical plan and a discussion of your goals will be agreed upon at this time. Photos will be taken, a detailed medical history and physical will be discussed and we always leave time for you to ask questions. After your surgery is scheduled you will have a pre-operative appointment to sign consent forms, review the surgical plan, receive prescriptions, discuss pre/postoperative written instructions, have blood work done and make any final payments. You will also need to purchase an ear covering headband (like ones used for snow skiing) to use at night after your surgical dressing is removed.
The Surgery- An Otoplasty is done by Dr. Harrison under general anesthesia, at the hospital day surgery center and lasts about 2 ½ hours. Incisions are made behind the ear and cartilage is manipulated, removed and/or sutured depending on the deformity. You will go home the same day with a bulky head dressing that covers your ears making it difficult to hear or wear glasses. This head dressing is designed for protection of the surgical site, external mechanical support of the repaired ears and to decrease the risk of hematoma.
After Surgery- You will need to have made prior arrangements for transportation home from the hospital and someone to help with your care. Dr. Harrison will instruct you to keep your head elevated for several days and to keep your bulky head dressing clean/dry. Heating pads nor ice should be used postoperatively. Sutures are dissolvable and do not require cleaning or removal. You will need a driver for your first appointment with Dr. Harrison the next day after surgery for a “tap test” to confirm there is no evidence of a hematoma. Your second post-operative appointment within 5-6 days is when the dressing will be removed. Your incisions can get wet after the dressing is removed.
Getting Back to Normal- Patience is required because the swelling & bruising takes several weeks to go away. Your final results will not be seen for at least six weeks. To support your new ear position, Dr. Harrison recommends wearing a headband, that covers your ears, each night for three months postoperatively. You should feel comfortable going out in public within two weeks of surgery. You can return to exercise and full activity in about 3-4 weeks post-op.
Your Results-The goal of an otoplasty is to make your ears a small part of your overall appearance, rather than a prominent, distracting feature. Your self-confidence in your appearance will be boosted and most patients are thrilled with the results. The scars, concealed behind the ear, are difficult to see. They will fade to almost invisible within 6-12 months. You can expect the results to last for the rest of your life giving you a balanced, confident appearance.
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