Otoplasty involves the reshaping and restructuring of the cartilage of the ear, often to reduce the size of the ears or to place them closer to the sides of the head. Otoplasty surgery is performed quite frequently on younger patients, generally between the ages of four and 14 because the cartilage is still soft and easy to mould. If you’re wondering ‘is otoplasty worth it’, let’s evaluate what you should consider before surgery.
What Is Otoplasty Surgery?
Ear surgery, or otoplasty, is the process of changing the shape or angle of the ears in relation to the head. It can be performed on children, adolescents and adults.
Is Otoplasty Worth It?
Because otoplasty is highly personalised, it may not be the right procedure for everyone. It’s important to discuss your wants and needs openly with your plastic surgeon, to ensure that your goals are going to be met.
Do You Want To Change The Shape Of Your Ears?
If your ears are asymmetrical, too large for your aesthetic or if you are unhappy with the angle at which they stick out, otoplasty may be for you. Sometimes children and teens are teased for the appearance of their ears, leading to a lack of confidence or unhappiness about their appearance. Otoplasty may be able to help you.
Important Considerations About Otoplasty
If your ears are asymmetrical, ear surgery is generally performed on both of the ears to get a better balance. Also, understand that perfect symmetry is often not possible because natural ear position may not be perfectly balanced.
How Do You Know If Ear Surgery Is Right For You?
Before you can have otoplasty it’s important that you are generally in good health and that you do not have any conditions that interfere with your body’s ability to heal, such as diabetes.
You do need to have had a consultation with a professional and be very clear about your intended outcomes.
Smokers are generally at risk of complications so you should quit if you plan on having surgery. It can affect your ability to heal and many surgeons will not even perform the surgery on smokers.
What Complications And Risks Apply To Otoplasty?
All surgical operations carry some degree of risk, which should be assessed based on your personal risk factors. Generally, any kind of surgery carries risks such as
- The possibility of an infection at the site, which may require additional surgery or a course of antibiotics to address
- Allergic reaction
- The formation of a blood clot that might need to be drained
- A chest infection that could develop as a result of the anaesthesia
- Bruising, pain and swelling
- Issues with scarring such as hypertrophic scars or keloid scars
- A slow rate of healing because of diabetes or being a smoker
Ear surgery may present more specific risks that may include
- Asymmetry or problems in the shape of the ear that may require correctional surgery to address
- Protrusion of one or both of the ears later on
- Balance issues and nausea may develop because of the accumulation of fluid in the ear
- The death of skin on the cartilage, which can form an ulcer ad which may take a while to heal.
What To Expect After Otoplasty Surgery?
It’s important that you have someone available to drive you home after the procedure. It’s also helpful if you have someone to assist you at home while you are recovering.
Your ears will be bandaged up for around 10 days after which your ears will be bruised and sore. Your ears may look asymmetrical initially, but this will improve as they heal.
Pain and swelling are normal after ear surgery, but most patients find that paracetamol is effective enough to address it.
You can expect to wear a headband once the bandages have been removed, and you should avoid contact sports and wearing earrings until healing is progressing.
In general, most adults can go back to work after around five days. Children who have had ear surgery will need to stay home for around seven days before going back to school.
It’s vital that you follow your surgeon’s post-operative care instructions closely and report any problems as soon as possible.
If you experience
- A fever higher than 38C
- Heavy bleeding
- Increased pain, redness or swelling
- You should contact your medical practitioner as soon as possible as you may have an infection that needs to be treated.
So, Is Otoplasty Worth It?
In order to establish if otoplasty surgery is worth it or not, you would need to consider all the benefits and then weigh them up against your individual risk factors. This is an exercise best performed in conjunction with your surgeon. If you are willing and able to manage the risks, then this procedure may offer value for you. In some cases, revisional surgery is required, but you should discuss the possibility of this directly with your surgeon prior to treatment.
If you still want to know ‘is otoplasty worth it’, it’s best to seek a professional medical opinion before you have any kind of surgery. Please contact us for an appointment: (02) 9158 6375.