Also known as ear reshaping or pinnaplasty, otoplasty is a cosmetic ear surgery that enhances the shape and size of the outer ear. It focuses on solving problems of the pinna, the part that protrudes on each side of the head. In certain cases, the pinna appears larger than normal or is misshapen due to congenital defects or traumatic injury.
Otoplasty is a cosmetic procedure, which means it doesn't have any profound impact on the function of the ears. It may result in changes with how sound is perceived, but they are almost always subtle that they don't affect the hearing process. Ear surgery can be performed on children five years and above. By this time, the ears have already fully developed, and patients are also more likely to be prepared to undergo the procedure.
During the surgical consultation, the surgeon examines the condition, shape and size of the ears. Photographs are typically taken. The procedure is then performed under a local anesthesia with sedative or general anesthesia if the patient is struggling to keep still or become highly anxious.
The surgeon will proceed by making a small incision along the lines that mark the ear's connection to the head so he can remove, trim, or cut a part of the cartilage or skin until the desired shape and size are achieved. In some cases, especially when the ears appear to be more forward, the surgeon pulls, rather than trims, the cartilage back, suturing it to the back of the ears and to the head to keep the ears in place.
The surgery may take at least two hours and the patient is allowed to go home once the effects of anesthesia have worn off. However, the doctor may advise against getting involved in strenuous physical activities for the next two months.