Otoplasty, while often performed for purely cosmetic reasons, is a type of plastic surgery that may also be performed to correct a congenital defect or repair a traumatic injury. Otoplasty is also known as pinnaplasty since “pinna” is the medical term for the outer ear. The outer ear helps to amplify sound. Our outer ears, apart from being an important sensory apparatus to assist with us with hearing, are also a prominent facial feature and we want them to be normally sized and shaped. Fortunately, modern plastic surgery techniques make it possible to correct congenital deformities and to repair damage from accidents.
Outer ears that protrude abnormally, or are incompletely formed, missing or misshapen, may be considered, by the world at large, to be amusing, unsightly, embarrassing, or even ugly. If you have atypical ears, even if your hearing is completely intact, you may want to have them reshaped, resized or repositioned by a gifted plastic surgeon like Brian D. Cohen, MD.
What an Otoplasty Can Do for You or Your Child
Unfortunately, children are prone to teasing anyone who looks out of the ordinary. Most of us have endured the humiliation of being taunted in the playground at a young age for a facial or body feature we wished we could change. Although sometimes such teasing is not malicious, all too often it causes emotional anguish on the part of the child being targeted.
With the wonders of modern science now available, you may be able to protect your child from such misery with a safe surgical procedure. You may also be able to have your own ears improved to the point where you feel more attractive, less self-conscious, and even finally able to retire painful memories from childhood.
An accident that affects the appearance of your ears later in life can also be damaging to your self-image and self-esteem, causing you to feel less attractive(after a severe burn, for example). If you are in this situation, otoplasty can improve your quality of life immensely.
How soon can cosmetic ear surgery be performed on a child?
Otoplasty can be performed as soon as the ears have grown to their full size, usually around seven or eight. Children born with certain ear-shape problems (most commonly protruding ears) can sometimes be splinted shortly after birth to encourage their ears to grow in a more normal direction on their own. Such children may never require surgery. In certain cases, children only 3 years old can be operated on. It should be noted that even in cases where one ear is more noticeably misshapen, Dr. Cohen typically operates on both ears to make certain they look symmetrical after surgery. Otoplasty can also be performed throughout adulthood.
Why Dr. Brian D. Cohen Is an Excellent Choice
When you choose a plastic surgeon, you are choosing a physician for sensitivity, artistry, and compassion as well as surgical skill. Fortunately, if you live in New York City or Nassau County, you have the option of connecting with Dr. Brian Cohen who not only has outstanding credentials but a fine reputation with his peers as well as his patients. He also has a history of success. All you have to do is look at his photo gallery to see how seriously he takes his profession. Why not stop feeling self-conscious and instead become one of his grateful patients?
Preparing for an Otoplasty
The first step in preparing for any type of surgery is to schedule a consultation with your doctor. You’ll find Dr. Cohen is easy to talk to and will listen carefully to all you have to say. He will review your medical history, paying special attention to other surgeries you have had and any ear infections in your past. He will need to examine you and to take pictures of your ears for his medical records. Assuming Dr. Cohen finds you to be a good candidate for an otoplasty, he will instruct you to take the following steps:
- Avoid aspirin and medications or supplements that can increase bleeding
- Stop smoking (at least for the duration of the recovery process) since it slows healing
- Plan to have someone to drive you home after surgery (almost always an outpatient procedure), and to have someone tend to you your first night at home
The Otoplasty Procedure
Depending on your particular circumstances, Dr. Cohen may perform your surgery while you are under local anesthesia and sedation or while you are under general anesthesia. The surgical techniques he uses will, of course, depend on the kind of correction needed. Before he begins, Dr. Cohen will have a carefully laid out strategy concerning where each incision will be made. He might, for example, make incisions on the backs of your ears or within the creases of your ears to make them almost invisible. If necessary, he will fold cartilage and/or remove excess cartilage or skin, securing his work with internal stitches. An otoplasty usually takes about two hours.
Types of Otoplasty
There are three basic types of otoplasty:
- Ear reconstruction if the pinna is underdeveloped or non-existent (microtia)
- Otopexy to “flatten” protruding ears (ear pinback)
- Ear reduction when the pinnas are too big (macrotia)
During ear reconstruction, the underdeveloped or non-existent ear can be shaped out of the patient’s own tissue (e.g. from rib cartilage), or may involve creating a prosthetic ear.
Postsurgical Care and Recovery
When Dr. Cohen has completed your otoplasty, your ears will be bandaged. The bandages will offer both protection and support as you heal. For a few days after the operation, you should avoid sleeping on your side and wear loose collars or button-down shirts to protect the surgical sites. You will be given medication for any pain or discomfort.
In a few days, the bandages will be removed and you will wear a loose headband when sleeping for about six weeks. Depending on the particular circumstances of your surgery, you may be able to resume normal activities in one to two weeks, though strenuous exercise and swimming will have to be avoided for a longer period. Dr. Cohen will give you specific instructions appropriate in your individual case.
An Otoplasty Can Feel Like a Rebirth
For children and adults who dread looking in the mirror, otoplasty can be an exciting experience, creating or restoring a sense of comfort and self-confidence. Why suffer longer than you have to? The sooner you contact Brian D. Cohen, MD, the sooner you will be on a path to feeling relaxed in your own skin.