Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)

Ear surgery is a cosmetic facial procedure that changes the shape, position, or size of the ears. Also known as otoplasty or ear pinning, this surgery is an excellent option for nearly anyone who feels dissatisfied with the appearance of their ears.

Schedule a complimentary consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Stan Castor at (813) 971-2000 to learn if ear surgery is right for you or your child. Artisan Aesthetics Plastic Surgery & Laser Center serves Tampa Bay and other areas of Florida.

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Reasons to Consider Otoplasty

Aesthetic ear issues can damage self-esteem. Fortunately, otoplasty is a straightforward and predictable procedure that can address concerns such as:

  • A congenital ear deformity
  • Trauma-related changes to ear structure
  • Overly large ears, or macrotia
  • Protruding ears
  • Ear asymmetry
  • Unsatisfactory results from a previous ear procedure

Otoplasty improves the harmony between the ears and other facial features, which can have a significant impact on your overall appearance. The surgery is often performed on young children who experience hardships such as bullying or emotional distress due to protruding or large ears. Otoplasty is also popular with adults looking to improve the appearance of their ears.

Ear Pinning Candidates

Ideal candidates for ear surgery are in good overall health, do not smoke, and can follow aftercare instructions. Other candidacy criteria must be evaluated in-person by Dr. Castor.

Otoplasty does not have the age requirements associated with many other cosmetic procedures. Children can undergo the surgery as soon as their cartilage is sufficiently stable, which happens around the age of five.

The Otoplasty Procedure

Otoplasty is a low-risk procedure performed at our onsite state-accredited office surgical suite. As an outpatient surgery, it does not require an overnight stay. During your consultation, Dr. Castor will discuss your anesthesia options and ensure you know what to expect on the day of surgery.

Your otoplasty will begin with an incision concealed inside or behind your ear. Then, Dr. Castor will remove excess tissue, contour the cartilage, and create missing natural folds as appropriate before closing the incision. The exact techniques used during the procedure depend on your unique ear anatomy and the degree of correction needed.

Ear Surgery Recovery and Results

Otoplasty recovery is a relatively quick process involving minimal discomfort. Dr. Castor will provide specific aftercare instructions, including activity restrictions. Following these instructions is key to the success of your procedure.

Most people can return to work and resume normal activities within one to two weeks. Children often miss a week of school to recover from this surgery.

Your ear surgery results will be visible after the protective dressings are removed. At this time, your ears may have residual swelling or redness that will fade. You can expect your flattering new ear shape and position to last a lifetime with minimal aesthetic changes.

Why Do My Ears Stick Out?

It's common to wonder why your ears or your child's ears stick out when others' don't. Having prominent ears is most commonly the result of cartilage overgrowth when the ears are developing. The conchal bowl, which is the sunken part of the ear that you see when you look from the front or the side, is made primarily of cartilage. When there is too much, the ear pushes away from the side of the head. So, it isn't that the ears themselves are bigger, just that there is cartilage making them stand out too far. 

Excess cartilage in the conchal bowl is only one reason ears may stick out. The other is the underdevelopment of the helical rim of the ear. This is the ridge that's located just inside the rim of the upper, outer ear. If this piece of tissue is not fully developed, the result may be that the upper ear sticks out or even folds forward slightly. 

What Type of Anesthesia is Used for Otoplasty?

Ear surgery can often be performed with a local anesthetic. You may also receive light sedation to alleviate any stress you may encounter during the otoplasty procedure. Local anesthetic is usually acceptable for older teens and adults. Young children who undergo otoplasty usually receive general anesthesia. Being fully asleep during surgery assures complete comfort. Children who receive general anesthesia also aren't likely to remember anything about their procedure. 

Is Recovery from Ear Surgery Painful?

Otoplasty recovery is not painful, although you can expect a few days of soreness and tenderness. You will receive prescription pain medication to manage these side effects. Taken as directed, your pain medication can do a very good job of maintaining your comfort. Do not skip doses or you may find yourself working harder to get ahead of the pain. The gentle compression headband that is worn after surgery can also work to resolve discomfort more quickly. This headband helps prevent accidental bumps that could be painful. Usually, patients only need prescription painkillers for a few days to a week.

Are the Results of Otoplasty Permanent?

The results of otoplasty should last indefinitely. There is a very slight risk of recurrence of ear protrusion. However, this is usually associated with an injury to the ear during the recovery period. If you wear the recommended headband and take care to protect your ears, you have every reason to expect your otoplasty results to be permanent. 

My Ears Don't Look the Same. Will They After Otoplasty?

When the ears stick out too much, it's easy to spot the asymmetry between them. One of the goals of otoplasty is to create more harmony in terms of size and shape. However, the mere act of repositioning the ears to sit closer to the sides of the head can create a much more symmetrical appearance. During your consultation, Dr. Castor will discuss his surgical plan and his expected cosmetic outcome. 

Schedule Your Tampa Bay Ear Surgery Consultation

If you are considering otoplasty for yourself or your child, schedule a consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Stan Castor today at (813) 971-2000. Artisan Aesthetics Plastic Surgery & Laser Center serves Tampa Bay and other areas of Florida.

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