Otoplasty for Protruding Ears

By Dr. William Cohen on March 30, 2017

A nicely shaped earEars that significantly stick out, or protrude, can cause patients to feel self-conscious about their appearance. Cosmetic ear surgery, also known as otoplasty, can help reduce ear protrusion to enhance your appearance and improve your confidence. If you are unhappy with the size or protusion of your ears, otoplasty may be able right for you. Contact our Orange County, CA practice to schedule a consultation with Dr. William C. Cohen. 

What Is Otoplasty?

Otoplasty is a cosmetic procedure used to improve the appearance of the ears. There are different forms of the procedure to address different cosmetic ear issues. These techniques may be used to adjust the size of the ears, pin back the ears, reshape the ears, or repair the earlobes. Commonly called “ear pinning,” otoplasty is highly effective at correcting the appearance of protruding ears, helping to add balance and symmetry to the face.

The Otoplasty Procedure for Protruding Ears

When otoplasty is done to correct protruding ears, the patient may be given a sedative and local anesthesia or be put under general anesthesia. Treatment typically takes two hours, during which time incisions are made behind the ears where excess cartilage and skin may be removed. Once the desired appearance is achieved, the ears are pinned back using permanent sutures. Temporary sutures may also be placed to help hold the ears in place during the healing process.

Recovering from Otoplasty

A full recovery from otoplasty generally takes about six weeks, though individual healing times will vary. With that said, most adults are recovered enough to return to work after several days and children may be well enough to return to school about a week after surgery. Patients will be given a headband to help hold the ears in place and protect them during recovery. This headband should be worn for several weeks.

Patients should expect to feel some pain and discomfort immediately after surgery. Doctor approved pain medication may be taken to help reduce pain and should only be taken as directed. Some swelling and bruising may also occur but generally resolves within a few weeks.

During recovery, care should be taken to avoid activities that may impact the ears, like playing certain sports or wearing headphones. This is especially important for children when playing on playgrounds or during physical education classes.

Candidates for Otoplasty

Those who are unhappy with the appearance of their ears may benefit from otoplasty surgery. Ideal candidates include those who have significantly protruding ears, large ears, or other cosmetic issues with the shape or overall appearance of the ears. Children and adults make excellent candidates for otoplasty. Additionally, candidates should be in good general health and free of certain medical conditions, like uncontrolled diabetes and heart disease, as these can increase the risk of complications during and after surgery.

Is Otoplasty Right for You?

If you feel the need to hide your ears because they stick out more than you'd like, you may be a good candidate for otoplasty. For more information about otoplasty, or to find out if it's right for you, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Cohen.

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