Otoplasty is a type of a non-emergency cosmetic procedure used to alter the shape, size and droopiness of either one or both the ears. This procedure can be performed on an individual from any age group, provided their ears have grown fully.
People decide to undergo otoplasty for a number of reasons. For example, certain people are unhappy with the position of their ear or how far they stick out from their face. Otoplasty is also required in cases where ears have disfigured because of an accident or a birth defect.
Who should consider otoplasty?
Individual with disproportionate size of the ears with respect to head, ear protruding out too far from the head and injured ears can decide to undergo this surgery. Typically, the surgery is performed on both the ears in parallel to avoid any mistakes with the symmetry.
Once you set your expectation with the doctor about why you want to get otoplasty done, the doctor would first review your medical history by asking you certain questions. You will be particularly asked about any ear infections that you may have had in the past or whether you are taking any medications.
The question and answer session will be followed up with a minor physical exam during which the doctor will make a note of the original placement of the ears, symmetry, size and shape. For the purpose of medical records, the doctor may even take pictures of your ears to work on a strategy.
Lastly, you may be asked to avoid certain medications and lifestyle habits such as smoking as it can interfere with the healing process.
Otoplasty can be performed as an outpatient procedure in a hospital or a clinic and lasts for a little over two hours. Typically, the patient is given local anesthesia to numb the ear and the area around the ear. But in some patients, general anesthesia may be required to render them unconscious.
The steps in otoplasty surgery depends on the kind of correction that the patient is expecting to get. For example, the exact position and location of the incision made by the surgeon depends on the end objective that the surgeon wants to achieve in terms of position of the ear and the scarring.
The doctor makes an incision within the crease of the ears or on the back of the ears. Next, all the extra cartilage and skin are removed before folding them into proper position. The new position of the cartilage and the skin is secured with the help of stitches and the incisions are closed.
Just like any other cosmetic procedure, otoplasty has its own set of risks and complications. However, none of them are life-threatening.
The following are some of the risks and complications that may arise:
In addition, there are rare chances of an infection, an allergic reaction to anesthesia and bleeding.
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