Ear surgery is one of the only plastic surgery procedures performed on younger children, typically during their preschool years, as children as young as five years old can undergo their procedure. Working with younger patients aims to prevent ridicule or bullying once a child enters school. Protruding or prominent ears are frequently a concern since this cosmetic issue can affect a child socially, emotionally, and academically. Adults can also benefit from changing the shape and contour of the external ear.

In these cases, the patient may not have had correction during childhood, or the concern may have developed due to an injury. Some patients may also seek ear surgery as a result of ear defects, such as what's known as the 'cauliflower ear.' When left untreated, disfigurements can often lead to self-consciousness, social withdrawal, and a lack of self-esteem. Otoplasty works to restore a natural-looking shape and structure to the ear that blends smoothly with the face.

Dr. Maas has performed numerous otoplasty procedures on both children and adults. He has worked with ear surgery both at the University of California, San Francisco, where he continues to work as a clinical professor, and in his practice at The Maas Clinic™. Dr. Maas is highly qualified to address various cosmetic concerns involving the ear and performs the techniques necessary to achieve the best possible results for his patients.

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Otoplasty for Outstanding Ears

Protruding ears can occur for several different reasons. For instance, the antihelix is a small bulge on the ear, sometimes forcing it to stick out prominently from the face. Another reason for outstanding ears may be conchal hypertrophy. The concha is located at the base of the ear and can jut out and create a significant protrusion. Both these concerns can be corrected through ear surgery.  Dr. Maas performs otoplasty on an outpatient basis in his well-appointed San Francisco surgery center. During the surgery, an incision is made in the back of the ear to expose the ear cartilage. Portions of the cartilage are repositioned and may be removed if necessary. Permanent sutures may be used to maintain the new position. Once the corrections are made, the skin behind the ear is sutured, and a soft dressing is placed to secure and protect the ears in their new position. Dr. Maas will remove the bandages and the sutures a few days after your procedure.

Ear Surgery for Children

Otoplasty is a safe, highly advanced surgical procedure to set ears back closer to the head. Outstanding ears in children can become a problem, especially when they begin to socialize. Some are subject to bullying or ridicule because of this condition, which can cause psychological issues. Suppose your child has become self-conscious or feels uncomfortable about the appearance of their ears. In that case, otoplasty provides a safe and effective method for modifying their ears and restoring a natural balance to the face. The surgery can improve the appearance of the ears and increase the child's self-confidence by preventing further bullying and subsequent self-esteem issues.

The operation can be performed on children aged five and up. Though every surgery carries a certain amount of risk, the complications of ear surgery are rare and usually minor when performed by a qualified and experienced board-certified facial plastic surgeon. Typically, otoplasty is performed under general anesthesia so the child will feel no pain and sleep safely through the operation. At his clinic in San Francisco, Dr. Maas completes the procedure by first evaluating the child's condition and determining the most suitable and effective technique. To ensure a safe operation and optimal results, he will give parents specific instructions on preparing their child for surgery and care for them during recovery.

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Ear Reduction Surgery

While many patients complain about ears that stick out unnaturally, others are self-conscious about their appearance due to disproportionately large ears. Compared to other facial features, overly large ears can affect your overall profile and diminish confidence. Dr. Maas offers macrotia or ear reduction surgery for patients suffering from this issue to help create a more balanced and harmonious facial aesthetic. In most cases, this procedure will involve correcting the upper portion of the ear, known as the scapha, due to its overdevelopment. Dr. Maas can reduce the size of the scapha to adjust the overall length and width of the ear. To minimize the visibility of scarring, he makes incisions in the natural creases of the ears and closes the openings with tiny sutures.

Types of Otoplasty - Otoplasty Introduction

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Earlobe Repair

Earlobe repair is a procedure that restores the appearance of a lobe damaged by jewelry tears or stretched by gauging. Dr. Maas usually performs earlobe repair in his office at The Maas Clinic™. The procedure is completed on an outpatient basis using local anesthetic and typically takes one to two hours to perform. The lobe is repaired using tiny sutures to minimize post-procedural scarring effectively. Depending on how the ear heals, some patients can even re-pierce the damaged lobe once it recovers completely.

Ear Surgery Recovery

Immediately after the procedure, patients may experience some swelling and bruising of the ears and mild discomfort. The swelling subsides within the first few days, and bruising will diminish within a few weeks. Significant pain is rare, and medication can be used to keep you comfortable during the early stage of the recovery process.

Dr. Maas fits his patients with a special headband after ear surgery that holds the ears in the new position until they have completely healed. Most patients return to regular activities within one week, although children may need a slightly longer recovery time. Once recovery is complete, the results of ear surgery are permanent.

Ear Surgery Post-Operative Care

After performing an otoplasty, Dr. Maas adopts a specific aftercare routine to ensure patients are comfortable and relaxed after the procedure. Once the incisions have been closed and the skin repaired with sutures, a dressing is placed in the ear and surrounded with layers of ointment and cotton balls. Dr. Maas then sets soft cotton over the area, and a type of wrap called a mastoid suture holds the ear in place and minimizes swelling. This wrap is generally kept on the ear for three to five days (sometimes longer), allowing the ear to conform to its new position. After the mastoid dressing has been applied, the post-operative stage is quite simple for patients. While the wrap remains on the head, the most crucial instruction for patients is to avoid getting the area wet. A quick shower should be fine, although the dressing must be kept dry. After three to five days, Dr. Maas will remove the mastoid dressing and place customized headbands over the area; one is worn across the forehead and over the ear, while the other is placed under the chin and over the top of the head, intersecting at the ears. This headpiece generally accompanies soft padding behind the ear, adding light but comfortable pressure.

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Ear Surgery at The Maas Clinic™

The headbands can be taken on and off and are usually worn as much as possible for approximately seven days, then only at night for the second week. During this portion of the recovery period, you can shower normally, washing the wound gently before dabbing it dry with a towel and applying ointment to the incision area to minimize swelling and accelerate the healing process. However, it is crucial to avoid long periods of soaking, baths, hot tubs, spas, saunas, or steam rooms to protect the area from bacteria.

In light of these aftercare directions, otoplasty recovery is typically an uncomplicated and straightforward process that can help create effective and lasting results. If your ears are causing you embarrassment, solutions are available to help you achieve a balanced and well-proportioned facial profile. Dr. Maas offers a variety of ear surgery techniques that can be tailored to your precise needs and aesthetic goals. By combining art and science, he delivers beautiful results that appear natural. To learn more about your options in ear surgery, contact The Maas Clinic™ today.

Corey S. Maas, MD, reviewed this information about otoplasty. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us using our contact form below.

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