Otoplasty or external ear surgery is a procedure that is carried out to alter the cartilage in the ears so that they are positioned closer to the head. Otoplasty surgery is usually carried out when patients are between the ages of 4 and 14 because, at this age, the cartilage is softer and easier to sculpt, however, it is possible to have an otoplasty procedure at any age. If you’re thinking about having surgery to reshape your ears, let’s take a look at how long does otoplasty surgery take.
What Is Otoplasty And What Can It Be Used For?
Otoplasty is the term used for external ear surgery and while it is frequently performed to correct ears that are very prominent, it can also be performed to reduce the size of ear lobes. People who have lost ears, or were born without them can also have otoplasty. Other uses include:
● To correct a cupped or very small ear
● To correct a lop ear, which happens when the tip falls down and forward
● To create the natural folds and creases of the ear, if they are missing
What To Expect From Ear Surgery?
Otoplasties can be performed under local anaesthetic with sedation but in some cases, general anaesthetic may be a better choice. If the patient is a child, a general anaesthetic is usually favoured.
You should discuss any medication you might be taking with your surgeon. Medications containing aspirin or anti-inflammatories should be avoided before and after your procedure. It is highly recommended that you quit smoking prior to your procedure, as it is a major risk factor for bleeding and infections post-surgery.
Ear Surgery Is Usually Performed In Two Steps
The first step is for the surgeon to make an incision in order to access the cartilage below. The second step is for the surgeon to remove any excess cartilage. In some cases, it might benecessary to reshape the cartilage. Once the cartilage has been cut or remodelled, the incision will be stitched up again.
How Long Does Otoplasty Surgery Take?
Your surgeon will give you a time estimate based on the complexities of your procedure, but on average most otoplasties take between one and three hours to complete. The length of the procedure will depend on the extent of work to be done, and the level of complexity required.
What Can You Expect After Ear Surgery?
Once the anaesthetic wears off you may expect to feel:
● Mild pain or discomfort
● Swelling and bruising
Your surgeon will cover your ears with bandages and dressing after the procedure to protect them.
What Side Effects And Complications May Occur After Ear Surgery?
All surgeries carry some element of risk but there are some side effects to be aware of before you move forward with otoplasty surgery
● Sometimes an infection may develop, which may need further surgery or antibiotics to resolve
● A blood clot may develop that requires drainage
● During general anaesthesia, a tube is inserted into your throat to assist with breathing, and this may cause soreness after the procedure. Some patients develop a chest infection after anaesthesia
● Thickened scars and keloid scars may develop once the surgical wounds have healed
● If you are a smoker or suffer from diabetes, you may experience slow healing
● Asymmetrical ears may result, even though surgery is usually performed on both ears to ensure balance. You may require secondary correctional surgery.
● A loss of balance or nausea may occur as a side effect of the anaesthesia
● Sometimes patients experience a loss of feeling around the surgical site.
What Can You Do To Speed Up The Healing Process?
In most patients, healing takes place quickly and the surgical site tends to leave a small scar that is likely to fade over the course of 12 to 18 months. While the results of surgery are expected to be permanent, cartilage is elastic and you might experience some movement in the years ahead. You must not touch or rub your ears during the recovery phase.
Speak to your surgeon about the post-surgical bleeding and swelling, and what you can do to accelerate your healing. If you experience an increase in bleeding or any uncharacteristic side effects, you should report it to your surgeon immediately. It is normal to have some discharge from your ear in the week after your procedure, and the discharge might be tinged with red, dark or thick, but do not be alarmed. You can help to reduce swelling by keeping your head elevated when you are resting or asleep.
Follow The Instructions
Your surgeon will place tight bandages around your ears, which you must keep on for one or two weeks, during the day and at night. Once the bandages have been removed your surgeon will give you a headband to wear, which will keep your ears in the correct position.
Do Not Play Sports
Or engage in any activity that could cause trauma to your ears. You should discuss when it would be safe to resume physical activity with your surgeon.
If you still have questions about how long does otoplasty take, it’s time to speak to a professional. Please contact us: (02) 9158 6375.