Otoplasty (ear surgery)

Facial surgery

Prominent ears can generate a deep complex, and have a psycho-social impact in children (given that they can suffer from teasing at school), but also in adults.

The classical otoplasty enables to treat both malformations (isolated or associated) responsible for the protruding ear:

  • A plication defect of the cartilage of the ear (anthelix), which leads to a lack of relief of the lateral side of the ear (appearing unfolded and flat).
  • A hypertrophy of the concha (central cartilage of the ear behind the auditory canal) increasing the projection of the ear forwards.

Both malformations lead to an increase of the retro-auricular angle between the skull and the ear, responsible for its protruding aspect.

This procedure can be carried out in children from the age of 7 (the ear has reached adult size) and in adults. It can concern one or both ears (unilateral or bilateral otoplasty).

Procedure steps

  • Dr. Petit will listen to you in order to understand your discomfort relating to your ears and its impact in your daily life.
  • He will examine you in order to diagnose the abnormalities responsible for the protruding aspect of your ears, and will note the possible asymmetries.
  • Dr. Petit will ask you to show the desired result in front of the mirror. He will suggest the most appropriate surgical strategy corresponding to your anatomy and to your request.
  • Dr. Petit will provide information on the scar positioning, treatment process and procedure limits, post-operative recoveries as well as main risks, so as to make an informed decision.

Good candidates for a classical otoplasty are the following

  • Children aged 7 or above, and adults.
  • Clinically having both malformations responsible for prominent ears.
  • Creating a significant psycho-social impact.

General pre-operative instructions relating to classical otoplasty

  • Smoking cessation 1 month before and after the procedure.
  • Discontinuation of medicines which increase bleeding 10 days before and after the procedure: aspirin, anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant medicines, vitamin E.

Specific pre-operative instructions relating to classical otoplasty

  • Purchase of a head bandage (tennis-style headband).

Procedure steps

Pre-operative markings are performed by Dr. Petit before the procedure.

The procedure can be performed under general or local anesthesia (in calm adults and children), on an out-patient basis (hospital discharge that very evening).

To begin the surgery, it consists in reshaping the external relief of the ears, by plicating on itself the anthelix (cartilage of the lateral side of the ear).

Then, the sutures are performed between the mastoid (palpable prominent bone behind the ear) and the hypertrophic concha, in order to decrease its projection forwards.

A scar hidden behind the ear is necessary to expose the cartilage.

The cutaneous closure is performed with resorbable sutures.

A dressing modeling the ears is performed at the end of the procedure.

What to expect after surgery

The otoplasty is a little painful procedure (pains in particular the first night). Pains are soothed by analgesics.

Ecchymosis (bruises) and oedema in the ears (swelling) are classical and depend from one patient to another, gradually diminishing within ten days.

The shower and the shampoo with a soft soap are possible the day following the procedure, after the removal of the dressing.

The wearing of a head bandage is recommended during 1 month in order to avoid a trauma in the ear region.

The progressive resumption of daily activities is possible the day following the procedure.

The resumption of school or professional activities can be done within a few days after the procedure.

The resumption of sports activities is authorized within 4 to 6 weeks after the procedure.

Procedure risks

The complications of an otoplasty are weak.

Main risks are the following:

  • A haematoma.
  • An infection (chondritis).
  • A prominent ear recurrence (by breakdown of suture line), which may require a revision surgery.
  • An asymmetry between the two ears.
  • A pathological scarring (hypertrophic scarring or keloids), more frequent on dark skins, among the teenagers and in case of active smoking.

Long-term result

The final result of a classical otoplasty is obtained after 6 months, and is stable and long-lasting.

The definitive aspect of your scars is not predictable and will be known at the end of the scarring maturation (1 year after the procedure).

The classical otoplasty is a reliable procedure generating a high degree of satisfaction to the patients who suffer from their sticking-out ears.

The other facial surgery procedures:

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