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May 11, 2024

Otoplasty Techniques: A Guide

Written by: Dr. Dahlia Rice. Posted in: Blog

Otoplasty Techniques: A Guide

Otoplasty techniques vary depending on the patient’s goals and anatomy. With that said, the goal with any otoplasty surgery in Chicago is to achieve a natural-looking outcome that is harmonious with the rest of the patient’s facial features.

This article aims to outline the various techniques that your otoplasty surgeon may use during your otoplasty procedure. First, however, we’ll discuss otoplasty surgery in general and what you can expect before and after.

What Is Otoplasty?

An otoplasty procedure, also known as ear surgery or ear pinning, is a cosmetic procedure aimed at the correction of prominent ears by reshaping, resizing, or repositioning the external ear. Most of these surgeries aim to correct ears that protrude excessively away from the head or appear too prominent to match the rest of the patient’s facial features.

Otoplasty can help patients who may feel self-conscious about the way their ears look, which can, in turn, help them in other areas of their life in addition to boosting their confidence.

Techniques for Otoplasty

What is OtoplastyThere are different surgical techniques that can be employed to correct protruding ears and other common aesthetic ear issues. Here are a few you may become acquainted with if you pursue this surgical procedure.

Ear Pinning

Potentially the most common technique used to perform otoplasty, ear pinning is performed on patients who have prominent ears that stick out away from the head. The technique manipulates the posterior cartilage and anterior surface to draw the ears closer to the patient’s head.

Ear Augmentation

In rarer cases, individuals may struggle with ears that never developed completely due to a birth defect and are thus, quite small when compared to the rest of their facial features. In this situation, ear augmentation would mean adding tissue (for example, conchal cartilage) to the ears to increase their size.

Ear Reduction

Some patients experience macrotia, which is when the ears are larger than is typical. This otoplasty technique will then reduce the ear size.

Other Techniques For Otoplasty

Naturally, other cosmetic issues may cause patients to seek otoplasty as well. Therefore, an experienced surgeon in otoplasty must be well-adept at performing a range of techniques to achieve the patient’s goals and correct the issues at-hand.

In some cases, the earlobes or antihelical fold may need to be reshaped or reconstructed. Surgeons may need to use simple mattress sutures or conchamastoid sutures (used with the Furnas technique). The wedge excision technique to reduce the size of the ears may also need to be employed.

Finding the Right Surgeon for Your Otoplasty

When considering otoplasty, it is important that you entrust your care to a board certified plastic surgeon who has extensive experience performing ear surgery. If you can find someone who specializes in face and neck surgery in general, this is typically a good sign that they will have ear surgery experience as well.

You’ll want to make sure they have good reviews from past patients and good otoplasty before and after photos. You can review their otoplasty techniques in their photos by focusing on scar visibility (suturing techniques), symmetry, and whether the ears have a natural harmonious appearance.

Lastly, book a plastic surgery consultation with them to discuss reconstructive surgery for your ears. Once you get to know a surgeon a bit more in person, it’s typically easy to tell whether you feel comfortable enough with them to book your surgical otoplasty appointment.

What to Expect During Your Otoplasty Procedure

The specific otoplasty procedure you undergo will depend on your circumstances, your desired outcome, and your anatomy. In general, however, the following steps will take place.

What Is An OtoplastyFirst, anesthesia will be administered. Most patients are able to undergo otoplasty surgery with local anesthesia and sedation. But sometimes, general anesthesia is needed. An anesthesiologist will be present throughout your procedure to monitor your vitals and ensure you do not have an allergic reaction.

Next, a series of incisions will be made around the target treatment area. The tissue, including skin and cartilage, will be manipulated as was planned prior to your surgery. Finally, your surgeon will carefully close up your incisions, and you will be taken to a room for your initial recovery before being allowed to go home.

How to Prepare for Otoplasty Recovery

During your otoplasty recovery, it is important to take it easy and get plenty of sleep and rest. Your ears will be swollen and red. Some bruising may be present, as well as some pain and soreness, which can be managed with pain medication. Be sure to wear your recovery bandages and garments as directed.

Before your otoplasty surgery, you will receive a list of postoperative instructions from your plastic surgeon. These are important to follow during your recovery so that you can achieve your desired results and avoid complications.

You will need to avoid alcohol and smoking during your recovery, as well as heavy lifting and strenuous exercise. Be sure to sleep according to your plastic surgeon’s directions. You won’t be able to sleep on your side so that you do not disturb your ears, and it’s best to sleep with your head elevated.

Throughout your recovery, you will visit your plastic surgeon periodically for follow up appointments to ensure that all is healing well.

FAQ: Techniques Used with Otoplasty

Who is a good candidate for otoplasty?

The best candidates for otoplasty surgery have protruding ears or excessively prominent ears that they would like to reduce the size of. Some patients may struggle with ears that are smaller than normal, and in this case, ear augmentation surgery can help achieve the desired shape.

You must ensure that you are in good physical health before proceeding with any type of surgery. It’s important not to smoke prior to or immediately after otoplasty. Most often, patients are adults, but many patients are children.

Is otoplasty recovery painful?

Some soreness and pain may be present in the initial days of your otoplasty recovery. Pain medication can be prescribed by your plastic surgeon. However, typically, most patients don’t need this for longer than a few days before transitioning to an over-the-counter pain med.

Contact Us Today to Schedule a Consultation Appointment

If an excessively large or prominent ear (or ears) has been a challenge for you, otoplasty surgery can help! Please contact the office of female plastic surgeon Dr. Dahlia Rice, board certified plastic surgeon, today to learn more about this surgery and schedule your consultation appointment.


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