Georgeanna Huang, MD Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

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Otoplasty

If protruding or disfigured ears bother you or your child, you may consider plastic surgery. Ear surgery - also known as otoplasty — can improve the shape, position or proportion of the ear. It can correct a defect in the ear structure that is present at birth, that becomes apparent with development or it can treat misshapen ears caused by injury. Ear surgery creates a natural shape, while bringing balance and proportion to the ears and face. Correction of even minor deformities can have profound benefits to appearance and self-esteem.

Specifically ear surgery can treat overly large ears — a rare condition called macrotia, protruding ears occurring on one or both sides in varying degrees — not associated with hearing loss, and adult dissatisfaction with previous ear surgery.

The success and safety of your procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. You’ll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.

Be prepared to discuss:

Why you want the procedure, your expectations and desired outcome
Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
  Previous surgeries

Your surgeon may also:

Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
Take photographs for your medical record
Discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment
Discuss likely outcomes of ear surgery and any risks or potential complications

Ear surgery is a highly individualized procedure and you should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.

Children who are good candidates for ear surgery are:

Healthy, without a life-threatening illness or untreated chronic ear infections
Generally 5 years old, or when a child’s ear cartilage is stable enough for correction
Cooperative and follow instructions well
Able to communicate their feelings and do not voice objections when surgery is discussed

Teenagers and adults who are good candidates for ear surgery are:

Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
Non-smokers
Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for ear surgery

The success and safety of your procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. You’ll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include local, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you. Correction of protruding ears uses surgical techniques to create or increase the antihelical fold (just inside the rim of the ear) and to reduce enlarged conchal cartilage (the largest and deepest concavity of the external ear). Incisions for otoplasty are generally made on the back surface of the ear. When incisions are necessary on the front of the ear, they are made within its folds to hide them. Internal, non-removable sutures are used to create and secure the newly shaped cartilage in place.

External stitches close the incision. Techniques are individualized, taking care not to distort other structures and to avoid an unnatural “pinned back” appearance.

Ear surgery offers near immediate results in cases of protruding ears, visible once the dressings that support the new shape of the ear during initial phases of healing are removed. With the ear permanently positioned closer to the head, surgical scars are either hidden behind the ear or well-hidden in the natural creases of the ear.

Ear surgery offers almost immediate results in cases of protruding ears, visible when the dressings that support the new shape of the ear during initial phases of healing are removed. With the ear permanently positioned closer to the head, surgical scars are either hidden behind the ear or well hidden within the natural creases of the ear.

 
 
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is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and an active member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, with subspecialty training in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery of the breast.
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