Otoplasty (ear surgery) is the name given to the procedure used to reposition or “pin back” protruding ears (ear pinning). This common congenital condition ranges in severity from cases in which the ears are only mildly protruding to cases in which the ears protrude to an extreme degree. Sometimes only one ear is affected, but usually, both ears develop in a similar fashion. Correcting ears that protrude is a relatively low-risk procedure that can be performed on both adults and children. Scarring from this ear pinning procedure is virtually undetectable as the incision is created behind the ear.
The ear surgery begins with an incision just behind the ear, in the natural fold where the ear is joined to the head. Dr. Waldman will remove the necessary amounts of cartilage and skin required to achieve the right effect. In some cases, Dr. Waldman will trim the cartilage, shape it into a more desirable form, and then pull the cartilage back with permanent sutures to secure the cartilage. In other instances, Dr. Waldman will not remove any cartilage at all, using stitches to hold the cartilage permanently in place. After sculpting the cartilage to the desired shape, Dr. Waldman will apply sutures to anchor the ear until healing occurs to hold the ear in the desired position.
The otoplasty procedure is appropriate beginning at ages five or six or at any time thereafter.
The ears are usually bandaged with a dressing that wraps around the head in a turban-like fashion for several days. Initial mild postoperative discomfort is easily controlled with oral medication. The ears will usually look “normal” within 7-14 days, and a thin stocking cap or headband is worn at night for 3 weeks after the first dressing is removed to protect the ears. Contact sports should be avoided for about a month.
Dr. Waldman performs all otoplasty procedures in the office’s state of the art surgical suite located in Lexington, KY. The operation is performed on an outpatient basis under sedation and local or general anesthesia.
The specific risks and the suitability of this procedure for a given individual can be determined only at the time of consultation. All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome occur occasionally. Major complications are unusual. Anything unusual should be reported to Dr. Waldman immediately.