Very rarely do we notice someone’s ears. Whenever the ears are overly enlarged, protruding or asymmetrical they attract attention as they disrupt the balance of a person’s face. This can become subject of undue ridicule and a source of great concern to some individuals. 9 out of 10 patients describe an increase in happiness or a boost in self-confidence after ear surgery.
When speaking about ear surgery we differentiate between two common procedures, > OTOPLASTY (the reshaping of protruding ears) and > EAR LOBE REDUCTION (the surgical reshaping and downsizing of elongated or enlarged ear lobes).
What is the goal of otoplasty surgery?
Otoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure that corrects the size, shape or position of the ears. The goal is to restore a natural appearance and balance to the face. Surgery can be performed once the ears have reached full growth. This generally happens between the ages of 5 and 6 years of age.
What are the benefits of otoplasty surgery?
Otoplasty is a safe and very rewarding procedure for both, the patient and the surgeon. It is of particular interest for patients with one or two protruding ears. Otoplasty improves the position, shape and symmetry of your ears, regaining a balance of your facial features. The results can be seen immediately at the end of your surgery and will last a lifetime.
THE REASONS FOR PROTRUDING EARS
Apart from trauma or previous surgery, the main reason for protruding ears is genetic. Our ears develop already before birth. Approximately 1-2% of the population in the U.K. suffer from protruding ears. There are three main anatomical causes that result in protruding ears:
- An excessive growth of the central part of ear cartilage (concha) that subsequently pushes the growing ear away from the head.
- A missing or under-developed fold of the ears (anthelix) that leads to a flattened, widened ear.
- A prominent lower part of the ear (ear lobe) that is pointing away from the side of the head.
During otoplasty surgery all three anatomical variations can be addressed simultaneously.
EAR LOBE REDUCTION SURGERY
What is the goal of ear lobe reduction surgery?
Cosmetic surgery of the ear lobe, is an aesthetic procedure that corrects the size, shape or position of your ear lobes. The goal is to restore a natural appearance and balance when looking at the ears.
What are the reasons for elongated or oversized ear lobes?
Ear lobes are at the bottom of our ears. They are the only anatomical structure that is not being supported by a cartilaginous framework. As we age, our ear lobes loose volume and stability. Both reasons result in elongation of your ear lobes. Wearing heavy ear rings accelerates to this process as the tissue is stretched whenever you are wearing big or heavy ear jewellery.
What are the benefits of ear lobe reduction surgery?
Ear lobe reduction is a safe and very rewarding procedure that requires minimal downtime. Restoration of a balanced appearance of the ears means that many patients can make lifestyle changes like freedom of different hairstyles, and improved self-confidence and self-esteem. The results can be seen immediately after surgery and last a for many years.
Before your procedure
Everybody’s anatomy is unique and requires a detail-oriented approach. During your consultation we will review your medical history and assess your area of concern, your ears. Mr. Bran will examine the contours of both ears and their symmetry. He will then address all details of your concerns in order to set realistic goals. You will have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have regarding the procedure and recovery period.
Am I a good candidate for ear surgery?
You may consider yourself a good candidate when you have:
- realistic expectations
- protruding or asymmetric ears
- age of 5 years or older
What are contraindications for hairline lowering?
- unrealistic expectations
A medical history of keloid formation is not a contraindication. However, ear surgery bears a significantly increased risk for keloid formation.
Preparing for your ear surgery
Preoperative assessment is critical in order to select appropriate patients for ear surgery. Apart from a physical examination you will have a discussion about your current and past medical history, and any medication you are currently taking or have recently taken. You will be asked about allergies, particularly drug allergies. If required, an anaesthetist will see you before your surgery. Depending on your medication, you may be asked to stop or change certain drugs for a duration of time.
You should refrain from taking Aspirin, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen in the week before your surgery.
In order to optimise your healing, we strongly advise all our patients to stop smoking at a minimum of 2 weeks prior to your surgery and refrain from cigarettes or any other nicotine containing products for 2 weeks after their procedure. Smoking significantly impairs your post-operative recovery and doubles the risk of complications such as delayed wound healing, poor scars or altered results.
HOW LONG DOES EAR SURGERY TAKE?
The otoplasty or ear lobe reduction surgery takes anywhere between 45 min and 1.5 hours, depending on the complexity of the case.
RISKS EAR SURGERY
In accordance with the Montgomery judgement, the following risks and side-effects are associated with ear surgery:
|PAIN||Moderate discomfort is expected; suitable pain medication will be provided.|
|BRUISING||Uncommon, may last for 2-3 weeks. Avoid Aspirin / Ibuprofen.|
|BLEEDING||Rare. Haematoma (blood collection – risk is less than 0.1%) may require drainage or return to surgery.|
|INFECTION||Occasionally, mild infection. Rarely serious infection. If required, appropriate antibiotics will be prescribed.|
|Some diminished sensation is expected around the scar. It can take 6-12 months to return to normal.|
|ASYMMETRY||Uncommon, any pre-operative asymmetry will be pointed out and the operation will aim to improve this.|
|SCARRING||With any incision there is a risk of delayed healing and poor scarring, which can lead to hypertrophic scars or keloid formation.|
|DEEP VEIN |
|This is a clot that forms in the deep veins of the lower limbs causing pain, inflammation, and swelling. This will require immediate medical attention.|
|This is a clot which has travelled to the lungs causing chest pain and shortness of breath. This will require immediate medical attention.|
WHAT IS THE RECOVERY AFTER EAR SURGERY?
We advise our patients to plan enough time for their recovery. In the first week you will be advised to wear a bandage around your head in order to protect your ears and provide necessary support for the ears to while they heal. Removal of sutures usually is only scheduled for ear lobe reduction procedure between day 7 and 10 (depending on your skin type and details of your procedure). For the patient who have had an otoplasty, you can return to work after about 1 week, whereas ear lobe reduction patients can return to work the day after your procedure.
The sensation of your ears will be reduced, but will return after several weeks.
WHAT RESULTS CAN I EXPECT AFTER EAR SURGERY?
You will be able to enjoy improved symmetry and the new contours of your ears. Our ears will still continue to change as we age. However, you will be able to enjoy your results for decades to come.
What can complement ear surgery?
Other beneficial procedures that can complement ear surgery include rhinoplasty, face lift, or neck lift.
In order to find out more you should book a confidential consultation with Mr. Bran. As an expert in facial plastic surgery, he will be able to answer all of your questions and explain the details of your tailored procedure.