Purpose: To improve the appearance of ears that protrude prominently from the head
Incision: Located behind the ears and in the creases of the ear
IV sedation allows patients to sleep through the entire procedure and is less invasive than general anesthesia. If the patient chooses to be awake during the procedure, they can expect around 10 seconds of discomfort on each side as the anesthetic is infiltrated into the tissue.
Overly prominent ears are typically the result of two issues. The first is a lack of an antihelix fold, which results in a “lop ear” type shape where the top of the ear cups out. The second is a large or highly angled conchal bowl. The conchal bowl is the bowl of cartilage around the ear canal opening.
This is one of the few procedures that Dr. Apostolakis can perform on patients as young as 6 years old, at which point the external ear is essentially fully grown. Though this procedure is typically performed on older patients, we perform this procedure on younger patients who are self-conscious of their ear shape and express interest in having them changed. We discourage parents from pushing a child who doesn’t see a problem with their ear shape into this procedure, as this may create undue self-esteem issues.
Otoplasty involves using sutures under the skin to reshape the cartilage. Care must be taken to reshape the cartilage in a natural way, especially avoiding a “broken ear” or “telephone ear” deformity.
Before & After Photos:
After the procedure is completed, a bandage is applied to the head for 24 hours. The morning after the procedure, the bandage is removed and the patient may return to their everyday life. At this point, the ears are still slightly over-corrected, the skin is a bit red, and there is a puffiness to the skin which blunts some of the sharp details normally seen in the ear. These side effects typically subside within 2 weeks. There is generally little or no bruising or pain associated with otoplasty. In situations where the ear might be bent or caught (such as while sleeping), patients are encouraged to wear a headband that keeps the ears from moving. Skin sutures located in the crease behind the ear are removed one week after surgery.
Risks associated with Otoplasty are minimal and infrequent. Potential risks include infection, and suture splitting (a situation where sutures under the skin may work their way to the surface long after the surgery). Suture splitting is easily fixed with a quick office visit, where the suture is simply removed. 6 months after the procedure, the sutures are no longer holding the ear shape and can be removed if needed. The ears may also “spring back” following surgery, but this is quite rare since Dr. Apostolakis takes special precautions to prevent this issue.
$ = less than $2,000
$$ = $2,000 – $4,000
$$$ = $4,000 – $8,000
$$$$ = more than $8,000