otoplasty2Otoplasty, is a cosmetic surgery to change the appearance of a person's external ears. Otoplasty can take many forms, such as bringing the ears closer to the head (often called ear pinning), reducing the size of very big ears, or reshaping various bends in the cartilage. Other reconstructive procedures deal with the deformed, or absent (microtic) ears. Otoplasty surgery can involve a combination of moving, reshaping, adding, or removing structural ear elements.


The pinna, or external ear, is made of a thin structural cartilage covered over with thin skin. Each of the various folds and structures of the pinna is named. Ear deformity results from distorted, damaged, or missing ear elements. Many otoplasties are performed not because of actual deformity, but because the individual is displeased with the shape of their ears.

otoplasty1Anesthetic options depend on the problem to be treated and ability of the patient to cooperate and can include local anesthesia alone, local anesthesia with sedation, and under general anesthesia (which is generally the case for children). Most otoplasty surgery is performed as an outpatient surgery, some require a hospital stay. The procedure can take from an hour and a half to five hours depending on the problem.


For many ear operations, one or more incisions give access to the structures to be sculpted. The main, and often only incision, is behind the ear. Other possible incisions depend on what needs to be done. Through the incision behind the ear, a small tunnel is created to reshape and balance the ear lobe with the rest of the ear. Ear reduction otoplasty may involve reducing one or more components of the ear. Incisions are typically hidden near folds in the front when a part of this surgery. Other ear shapes may be changed through moving, adding, and weakening ear structures. Internal sutures often are permanent. The wound(s) are then closed with either dissolvable sutures or ones that are removed by a doctor after the wounds have healed. A bulky ear dressing protects the ear after surgery.


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