WHY CONSIDER PROMINENT EAR SURGERY?
Prominent ears are a common inherited problem affecting 1-2% of the population. The psychological distress caused by prominent ears can be considerable particularly in children. Surgery can pin back, reshaped, reduce the size of ears and make them more symmetrical, though exact symmetry is impossible and unrealistic.
AM I A SUITABLE CANDIDATE?
Pre-requites for surgery include good general health and realistic expectations. Surgery is recommended around 5 -6 years of age, and is also carried out in adults.
THE BENEFITS OF SURGERY
Surgery helps to set back the protruding ears and corrects large floppy ears. It also offers great psychological benefits, particularly for children.
LIMITATIONS OF OTOPLASTY SURGERY
Absolute symmetry is rarely achievable and the goal of surgery is improvement and not perfection. Some ear irregularities are not completely correctable.
During the consultation, a thorough medical history is obtained. The ear is examined in detail, both externally and internally and aspects that need correction are noted. Photographs are taken to explain the surgery better and to help you understand the surgical procedure and expected results.
Age is an important factor as cartilage in young children has adequate strength to hold stitches and yet is mouldable. Adult cartilage tends to be more resistant to moulding restricting the eventual outcome. Some ears may be corrected with minimally invasive ear-fold procedure.
HOW IS THE PROCEDURE PERFORMED?
The surgery in children is usually carried out under general anaesthesia, whereas a local anaesthesia is suitable is adults. A skin incision is made behind the ear exposing the cartilage, which is then shaped as required with permanent stitches. Any redundant skin and tissue is removed. The wound is then stitched and a turban-like head bandage is secured in place to help the moulding and healing.
POST OPERATIVE RECOVERY
Surgery is carried out as a day procedure. The turban like head dressing is maintained for the first twenty four hours after surgery. After that an exercise headband is worn for a further two weeks. There may be some swelling and bruising around the ears, particularly the back with some minor discomfort. Simple painkillers will relieve this discomfort. Adults may return to work after approximately forty eight hours, however children are advised to stay off school for about a week to ten days. Any strenuous activity should be avoided for about three weeks and contact sports for six weeks.
Complications include but not limited to infection and rarely bleeding. The scar behind the ear usually fades well, but on rare occasions it can become red and lumpy. Overgrown, unfavourable scars are more common in black or Asian patients. Loss of correction may occur especially if the ears are traumatised before the healing is complete. The ears usually feel numb, sometimes for several weeks to months after surgery and the sensation is exaggerated when exposed to cold. Occasionally corrective revision surgery maybe required.
Please ask all questions you may have, and ascertain that your questions have been answered satisfactorily before you proceed to surgery.
Understand that this is lifestyle surgery and not an essential operation and should be considered a major intervention.
|Procedure time||1-2 Hours|
|General/Local anaesthetic||Local or General|
|No. of nights in hospital||Day Case|
|Time off work||1 Week|
|Sensitivity period||3 Weeks|
|Back to normaility / sports||2 Weeks|