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Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)

Am I A Good Candidate For Cosmetic Ear Surgery?

Patients who benefit from ear surgery include those who may have:

  • Protruding ear(s)- Majority of the cosmetic surgery performed on ears.
  • Large ear(s)
  • Abnormally shaped ear(s)



Ear surgery often is recommended for children as they near total ear development at age five or six. Correction of the ears prior to the child entering school helps eliminate potential psychological trauma from the teasing of classmates. You may have ear surgery at any age after about six and in most areas can have this on the NHS until about 12yrs of age. As long as you are in good health, there is no upper age limit for this surgery.

What Are The Results Like?

Usually the final results of ear surgery are very satisfactory and last a life. The result will depend on the technique used and the quality of the surgery. Even the best surgeons occasionally get complications however!  

How will you evaluate me for Aesthetic Ear Surgery?

During the initial consultation, you will be asked to look in a mirror and point out exactly what you would like to see improved. This will help me to understand your expectations and determine whether they can realistically be achieved.
You should come to the consultation prepared to discuss your medical history including previous surgery, past and present medical conditions and current medications. It is important for you to provide complete information.

How is Aesthetic Ear Surgery Performed

One of many surgical techniques will be reccommended to improve the appearance of your ear(s). The particular technique that I recommend will depend on the nature of the problem and many other factors including your desires. Because of individual factors, not everyone will achieve the same results from ear surgery. I will select the surgical technique that I feel will obtain the best outcome for you.
If your problem is protruding ears, the supporting tissue of the ears, called cartilage, is reshaped in order to position your ears closer to your head. This usually is accomplished through incisions placed behind the ears. Subsequent scars will be concealed in the natural skin crease behind your ear. In some cases, especially in ears that need to be reduced in size, external incision on the front (outside surface) of the ear will be necessary. Usually these are placed in areas where they will heal in an inconspicuous manner. In ear reductions, skin as well as cartilage will most often need to be removed. 

Understanding Risks of Ear Surgery

Fortunately, significant complications from aesthetic ear surgery are infrequent. Every year, many successful cosmetic ear operations are performed, without experiencing any major problem.
The subject of risk and potential complications of surgery is best discussed on a personal basis with me, or with a staff member in my clinic. Some of the potential complications that I will discuss with you include hematoma (an accumulation of blood under the skin that may require removal), infection, changes in sensation, scarring, allergic reactions, damage to underlying structures, need for revisions, unsatisfactory results possibly necessitating additional procedures and medical risks. Sutures may be visible or may even break allowing for partial or complete recurrence of the protrusion and / or loss of the ear fold. Irregularities, sharp folds and other shape abnormalities may ensue. I am sometimes referred less than optimal results and can usually change these to satisfactory ones. 
You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions both before and after your ear surgery.

Your Surgical Experience (Preoperative Preparation and Recovery)

Our goal is to make your surgical experience as easy and comfortable for you as possible.
If you are a smoker, it is recommended to stop smoking well in advance of surgery since smoking can impair the healing process. Aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs can cause increased bleeding, so you should avoid taking these medications for a period of time before surgery. I will provide you with additional preoperative instructions.
Aesthetic ear surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis. If this is the case for you, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you for the first 24 hours.

Recovery from Ear Surgery

It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals. Remember, you must not take aspirin or certain anti-inflammatory medications.
Initially, pain is usually controlled with oral medication. Some patients find that mild swelling persist for many weeks. Bruising typically disappears within seven to ten days. I usually use absorbable sutures so there are none to come out. After surgery, you will wear a head bandage for one week to ensure that your ears heal in their new, corrected position. Once this is removed I will ask you to wear a ski band for six weeks to cover the ears at night to prevent the ears from bending during sleep. 
Straining, bending and lifting should be avoided during the early postoperative period. In many instances, you will be able to resume most of your normal activities within ten days or less. Most people return to work at 7- 10 days. 

Maintaining a Relationship with Me after Ear Surgery

You will return for follow-up care at prescribed intervals, at which time your progress will be evaluated.
Please remember that the relationship with me does not end when you leave the hospital. If you have questions or concerns during your recovery, or need additional information at a later time, you should contact me. 

Your Next Steps...

For more information, available treatments, fact sheets and healing times, please either contact Simon Lee directly, or register for Simon Lee's free email newsletter and we will keep you updated with articles and information on a variety of surgical or non-surgical procedures, as well as news, new techniques and clinic special offers.

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