Otoplasty is a relatively simple ear surgery used to reshape prominent, misshaped, or protruding ears. Though otoplasty is performed regularly for adults, it is typically encouraged for children who have been psychologically impacted by the appearance of their ears. In fact, otoplasty is the most common cosmetic surgery performed in children.
One reason that otoplasty is encouraged at an early age is that the cartilage in children’s ears can be more easily reshaped to the desired position. Prominent or protruding ears are usually caused by underdeveloped cartilage of the anti-helical fold, which normally causes the ear to bend in towards the head. When underdeveloped, the ear can be oriented straight out from the head and appear more prominent. While cartilage is soft and pliant at a young age, it tends to harden in adults and does not provide the same molding capacity.
The Benefits of Otoplasty Extend Beyond Aesthetics
Many children with protruding or misshaped ears begin to experience teasing, bullying, and embarrassment once they reach school age. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgery, otoplasty offers substantial psychosocial benefits to children who would otherwise suffer emotionally from their condition.
After evaluating 101 children between the ages of 5-16 that had undergone otoplasty, researchers measured the psychosocial impact of otoplasty:
- 97% reported increased happiness
- 92% reported increased self-confidence
- 79% noted improved social experience
- 100% reported that bullying was reduced or stopped entirely
The study concluded that otoplasty is a highly effective procedure for alleviating psychosocial distress that can greatly impact a child’s early development.
What Does the Procedure Involve?
The goal of otoplasty is to reshape the cartilage and projection of the ears to achieve a more balanced and natural appearance. To achieve the best results, it is crucial to consult an experienced facial plastic surgeon that can assess your ears and suggest an approach specific to your aesthetic features.
At the Ear Surgery Center of Excellence, our facial plastic surgeons offer a thorough consultation for each patient interested in undergoing an otoplasty. During the consultation, careful measurements are taken of your ear and head to plan out your desired look. These measurements are then used in surgery to create a precise shape based on your personal preferences and the surgeon’s recommendations.
The surgery is often performed under general anesthesia but in some cases may be performed in-office under local anesthesia. One small incision behind the ear is used to place sutures that pull the ear back closer to the side of the head. The cartilage is subtly weakened, reshaped, and then allowed to heal into the desired position. Once the surgery is complete, dressings will be placed over your ears along with a protective headband, which will need to be worn for at least one week. After this simple outpatient procedure, you will be well on your way to a more balanced appearance with enhanced self-confidence.
Contact the Ear Surgery Center of Excellence
Otoplasty is a safe and relatively quick outpatient procedure that has improved the social and emotional well-being of countless individuals. At the Ear Surgery Center of Excellence, our goal is to provide the highest quality of patient-specific care. Our expert facial plastic surgeons were trained at some of the most prestigious medical institutions in the country, and each utilizes advanced surgical techniques to provide the most natural looking results.
For additional information or to schedule your initial consultation with one of our facial plastic surgeons, don’t hesitate to call (888) 281-8537 or fill out our online contact form.