Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)
Sometimes ear surgery is performed on a mature adult; other times it is performed on a child.
If performed on a child, most surgeons recommend that parents stay alert to their child’s feelings about protruding ears; don’t insist on the surgery until your child wants the change. Adults who desire this surgery are prepared for a successful outcome that often increases their self-confidence. Children who feel uncomfortable about their ears and want the surgery are generally more cooperative during the process and happier with the outcome.
Please ask Dr. Monteiro about anything you don’t understand in the information contained below.
If you're considering ear surgery for your child or yourself
What are the risks involved with this procedure?
When ear surgery is performed by a qualified, experienced surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. Nevertheless, as with any operation, there are risks associated with surgery and specific complications associated with this procedure. A small percentage of patients may develop a blood clot on the ear. It may dissolve naturally or can be drawn out with a needle. Occasionally, patients develop an infection in the cartilage, which can cause scar tissue to form. Such infections are usually treated with antibiotics; rarely, surgery may be required to drain the infected area.
Planning the surgery
Preparing for the surgery
Types of anesthesia
If your child is young, your surgeon may recommend general anesthesia, so the child will sleep through the operation. For older children or adults, the surgeon may prefer to use local anesthesia, combined with a sedative, so you or your child will be awake but relaxed.
Where the surgery will be performed
Dr. Monteiro usually performes otoplasty as an outpatient procedure in a hospital, his office-based surgical facility, or a freestanding surgery center. Occasionally, the doctor may recommend that the procedure be done as an inpatient procedure, in which case you can plan on staying overnight in the hospital.
After the surgery
Creating a fold in the cartilage makes the ear lie flatter against the head and appear more normal.
In most cases, ear surgery will leave a faint scar in the back of the ear that will fade with time. Even when only one ear appears to protrude, surgery is usually performed on both ears for a better balance.
Getting back to normal
Stitches are usually removed, or will dissolve, in about a week. Any activity in which the ear might be bent should be avoided for a month or so. Most adults can go back to work about five days after surgery. Children can go back to school after seven days or so, if they’re careful about playground activity. You may want to ask your child’s teacher to keep an eye on the child for a few weeks.
Most patients, young and older alike, are thrilled with the results of ear surgery. But keep in mind, the goal is improvement, not perfection. Don’t expect both ears to match perfectly-perfect symmetry is both unlikely and unnatural in ears. If you’ve discussed the procedure and your expectations with Dr. Monteiro before the operation, chances are, you’ll be quite pleased with the result.