Ear Lobe Surgery

Ostoplasty - Ear Reshaping / Split Earlobe Surgery / Big Ear Surgery

Ear surgery, or Otoplasty, is usually done to set prominent ears back closer to the head or to reduce the size of large ears. Also split Earlobes can be repaired.

If you're considering ear surgery for yourself or your child, this information will give you a basic understanding of the procedure-when it can help, how it's performed, and what results you can expect. It can't answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on your individual circumstances. Please be sure to ask our surgeon if there is anything you don't understand about the procedure.

When ear surgery is performed by a qualified, experienced surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. Nevertheless, as with any operation, there are risks associated with surgery and specific complications associated with this procedure.

A small percentage of patients may develop a blood clot on the ear. It may dissolve naturally or can be drawn out with a needle.

Occasionally, patients develop an infection in the cartilage, which can cause scar tissue to form. Such infections are usually treated with antibiotics; rarely, surgery may be required to drain the infected area.

In the initial Consultation meeting for Earlobe Surgery, our surgeon will evaluate your child's condition, or yours if you are considering surgery for yourself, and recommend the most effective technique. He or she will also give you specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery.

Earlobe surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure in a hospital, a doctor's office-based surgical facility, or a freestanding surgery center. Occasionally, your doctor may recommend that the procedure be done as an inpatient procedure, in which case you can plan on staying overnight in our hospital.

Types of Anesthesia for Earlobe Surgery

If your child is young, our surgeon may recommend general anesthesia, so the child will sleep through the operation. For older children or adults, our surgeon may prefer to use local anesthesia, combined with a sedative, so you or your child will be awake but relaxed.

The Earlobe Surgery

Earlobe surgery usually takes about two to three hours, although complicated procedures may take longer. The technique will depend on the problem. With one of the more common techniques, the surgeon makes a small incision in the back of the ear to expose the ear cartilage. We then sculpt the cartilage and bend it back toward the head. Non-removable stitches may be used to help maintain the new shape. Occasionally, the surgeon will remove a larger piece of cartilage to provide a more natural-looking fold when the surgery is complete.

Another technique involves a similar incision in the back of the ear. Skin is removed and stitches are used to fold the cartilage back on itself to reshape the ear without removing cartilage.

In most cases, ear surgery will leave a faint scar in the back of the ear that will fade with time. Even when only one ear appears to protrude, surgery is usually performed on both ears for a better balance.

Getting Back to Normal after Earlobe Surgery

Adults and children are usually up and around within a few hours of surgery, although you may prefer to stay overnight in the hospital with a child until all the effects of general anesthesia wear off.

The patient's head will be wrapped in a bulky bandage immediately following surgery to promote the best molding and healing. The ears may throb or ache a little for a few days, but this can be relieved by medication.

Within a few days, the bulky bandages will be replaced by a lighter head dressing similar to a headband. Be sure to follow your surgeon's directions for wearing this dressing, especially at night.

Stitches are usually removed, or will dissolve, in about a week.

Any activity in which the ear might be bent should be avoided for a month or so. Most adults can go back to work about five days after surgery. Children can go back to school after seven days or so, if they're careful about playground activity. You may want to ask your child's teacher to keep an eye on the child for a few weeks.

Other Ear Problems

Besides protruding ears, there are a variety of other ear problems that can be helped with surgery. These include: "lop ear," when the tip seems to fold down and forward; "cupped ear," which is usually a very small ear; and "shell ear," when the curve in the outer rim, as well as the natural folds and creases, are missing. Surgery can also improve large or stretched earlobes, or lobes with large creases and wrinkles. Surgeons can even build new ears for those who were born without them or who lost them through injury.

Sometimes, however, the correction can leave a scar that's worse than the original problem. Ask your surgeon about the effectiveness of surgery for your specific case.

More Natural - Looking Ears

Most patients, young and old alike, are thrilled with the results of ear surgery. But keep in mind, the goal is improvement, not perfection. Don't expect both ears to match perfectly-perfect symmetry is both unlikely and unnatural in ears. If you've discussed the procedure and your expectations with the surgeon before the operation, chances are, you'll be quite pleased with the result.

Split Earlobe Surgery

Plastic surgery to repair a torn earlobe is a frequent occurrence. Piercing an earlobe puts it at risk to tear. The size, style and weight of an earring can contribute to the stretching of the earlobe opening. Large earrings that dangle are caught on clothing or grasped by a child. The result may be a partially or completely torn earlobe. Repair of a torn earlobe occurs in the plastic surgery office setting using a local anesthetic. The procedure consists of "freshening" the edges of the split and placement of sutures to complete the repair of the earlobe.

Torn Earlobe Repair Procedure

In most pierced ears, the pierced hold gradually enlarges over time. If it tears, the final tear is usually just through a tiny piece of tissue at the bottom of the lobe. In this case, immediate repair will not take care of the skin covered slot, so reconstruction is delayed until after the wound has healed and inflammation has diminished. However, if the tear starts from a tiny pierced hold, immediate repair is an option.

Depending on the deformity, reconstruction can take different forms. In all methods, the skin lining the slot is removed creating a raw edge to rebuild. When tissue has been lost, however, the procedure is more complicated, and reconstruction involves creating normal proportions around a somewhat small ear.

After Your Earlobe Repair Procedure

Sutures are removed 1 - 2 weeks after the repair procedure. A thin layer of antibiotic ointment is the only dressing applied in most cases. A little drainage from the wound is to be expected.

How soon you can wear earrings after surgery!

You should wait six months after surgery before wearing earrings. The scar should be soft before you get your lobe re-pierced, approximately three months after the earlobe repair.

Need more information about Ear Reshaping / Split Earlobe Surgery?

If you would like more information about Ear Reshaping / Split Earlobe Surgery offered by our Consultant, or whether Ear Reshaping / Split Earlobe Surgery is right for you, please contact us.

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