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Ear Surgery (Otoplasty) Fayetteville

Ear reshaping (otoplasty) is a procedure that reduces prominence or abnormal curves of the ear. The normal shaped ear has well described features and is a beautiful anatomic unit by itself when those features are normal. Ear reshaping can “set back” ears that are prominent so that they are close to the head with a beautiful shape. The procedure allows patients to wear hair above or behind the ear without being self conscious. The ear reshaping also helps make the ears match better in situations where the ears do not match, which is common.

The ear reshaping procedure is much like the nose reshaping procedure (rhinoplasty) where the shape of the ear (the skin shape) reflects the underlying cartilage. In order to change the shape of the ear, as in nose reshaping, the shape of the cartilage must be changed. The ear reshaping is similar to nose reshaping in that additional techniques are used to achieve the cartilage shaping including thinning of cartilage and the requisite use of sutures (stitches) to hold the cartilage in place.

There are two main parts of the ear that are changed with most ear reshaping procedures. The area next to the ear canal is called the concha, and when this area is overgrown or at a wide angle, the ear will appear prominent (stick out too far). This area is reduced and “set back” which helps correct the prominence. The other area that is addressed is the fold just inside the rim of the ear called the antihelix. In some patients this area is “unfolded” (flat), meaning there is no crease present. This also contributes to the ear appearing prominent. There are many other shapes of the ear that can be altered surgically, but these are the main two problems addressed in most ear reshaping procedures.

The ear reshaping procedure is performed under local anesthesia alone, or sedation with local anesthesia, or general anesthesia. For adults, the most common technique is sedation with local anesthesia. In children general anesthesia is usually chosen.

After the procedure, a bandage is kept in place for three to five days. As with all surgery, there is swelling and bruising, but this resolves in a very short period of time. After about three weeks the wounds are well on their way to healing.

Procedure: Set prominent ears back closer to the head, or reduce the size of large ears. Most often done on children between the ages of 4 and 14 years. (Occasionally covered by insurance.)

Length: 2 to 3 hours.

Anesthesia: Young children: usually general. Older children or adults: general or local, with sedation.

In/Outpatient: Usually outpatient.

Side Effects: Temporary throbbing, aching, swelling, redness, numbness.

Recovery: Back to work or school: 5 to 7 days. Strenuous activity, contact sports: 1 to 2 months.