If you’re unsatisfied with the appearance of your ears, it’s usually because they protrude unnaturally from your head, making them appear larger and more prominent than you’d like. For many adults, prominent ears were a source of insecurity and bullying during childhood. For children, this issue is especially relevant and, when left unresolved, it can affect their confidence as they grow. Dr. Steven Dayan, based in Chicago, IL, proudly offers a solution to these common concerns with otoplasty. This procedure is a safe and effective way to minimize the appearance of your ears.
What Is an Otoplasty?
Otoplasty, which is often referred to as ear pinning, is a surgical procedure which corrects the positioning of your ears to achieve a more natural appearance. Your doctor carefully and discreetly repositions your ears to lie more closely to your head.
For a standard procedure, a small incision in the fold behind your ear allows your doctor to move or reshape the ear by manipulating the cartilage. Sutures are then used to pin your ears back closer to your head, which results in natural, undetectable results.
This procedure is an excellent option for those who desire a more natural ear appearance and position. Protruding ears can be a source of insecurity for entire lifetimes, and the opportunity to correct this results in a huge boost in self-esteem once results are visible.
In addition, reconstructive otoplasties can help correct ear conditions caused by trauma, cauliflower ear, or birth defects through the removal of excess cartilage and the use of skin grafts to create a natural-looking ear.
Through the repositioning or reconstruction of the outer ear, patients can experience growth in satisfaction with their appearance. They’ll no longer stand out in a crowd or feel insecure about large or protruding ears. Children can also benefit from this procedure if they’ve experienced bullying or have expressed dissatisfaction with their ears.
Finally, this procedure is even able to improve the overall function of the ear when it corrects issues such as cauliflower ear, which naturally inhibits hearing.
How Does It Work?
This procedure is adapted by your doctor to meet your specific needs and unique cosmetic goals. As a surgical procedure, it is safe and has the potential to deliver excellent results when you carefully follow your doctor’s instructions, especially for preparation and recovery. You should feel free to consult your doctor at any time if you have questions or concerns.
The first step in your journey is a one-on-one consultation with your doctor. This time allows you to discuss your goals for the procedure in detail and gives your doctor the opportunity to examine your ears and determine whether this procedure is right for you. You should be prepared to disclose your health history, any medications you take regularly, including herbal remedies, and any prior surgeries you have had performed on your ears.
If your doctor approves you for this procedure, they will explain the procedure in detail and tell you exactly how your ears will be repositioned during surgery. You’ll have pictures taken to reference after your recovery period, and your doctor will give you instructions to follow during your preparation for surgery.
Preparing for your procedure helps decrease your risk of complications and ensure a quick, easy recovery time. Your doctor will ask you to stop taking blood-thinning medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin about 10 days before your procedure. These medications can cause you to bleed excessively and slow your recovery time significantly.
If you take herbal remedies or supplements, your doctor may ask you to stop taking those which may interact negatively with this procedure. You should also avoid alcohol beginning about 4 days before surgery. If you’re a regular smoker, it’s important to stop smoking before surgery as nicotine can have negative effects on your body as it heals. Your doctor can tell you more about the adverse effects of smoking on your overall health.
If your doctor gives your prescriptions to fill, it’s a good idea to do this before your surgery. Your doctor will ask you to stop eating, drinking, and chewing gum the night before surgery if you’ll be undergoing general anesthesia. Finally, if your doctor asks you to have a trusted family member or friend to drive you home after surgery and stay with you overnight, it’s good to arrange this beforehand.
The Day of Surgery
On the day of your surgery, wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing which does not need to be pulled over your head. You may want to shower and cleanse your face, ear, and neck thoroughly since you won’t shower after surgery for approximately 48 hours.
Don’t wear any makeup or jewelry and make sure you bring all your medical information and any paperwork your doctor gave you at your initial appointment. Your doctor will be available to answer any last-minute questions before surgery. You may undergo general anesthesia or a local anesthetic, depending on your doctor’s recommendations.
During surgery, your doctor will make a small incision behind your ear. This allows them to move the cartilage of the ear as needed to achieve your ideal results. Your doctor will then pin your ear back against your head to create a more natural appearance and secure the new positioning with sutures.
A typical otoplasty lasts for about 1.5-2 hours. Your doctor will clean and bandage your ears and may provide you with an elastic band to wear during recovery in order to keep your ears in the correct position.
You will be carefully monitored as you wake up and for about 1 hour after. Your doctor will describe the results of your procedure and give you instructions to follow during recovery. Once your doctor is satisfied, you’ll be released to return home with your designated companion.
For the first couple of days, you’ll likely experience tenderness and mild swelling in your ear area. This is normal and can be managed with pain medications prescribed by your doctor. You should plan to rest for the first few days. Avoid laying or sleeping on your side and wait to shower for at least 48 hours.
You may be instructed to avoid driving until you’ve finished taking your prescribed medications as some may affect your ability to operate a car safely. This means that you may need to arrange a ride to your post-procedure check-ups, which are usually the day after surgery and a week after surgery.
After about 3-4 days, you should begin feeling back to normal. You should leave the bandages in place until your doctor removes them. Once the bandages are removed, keep the incision sites clean by washing your hair with a gentle shampoo and avoid scrubbing the area.
You can plan to return to work about 1 week after the procedure. Avoid wearing glasses or earrings or exercising for 3 weeks. If your doctor provides you with an elastic band, it’s best to wear this whenever possible for 6 weeks, which is the normal time it takes for your body to fully recover from this procedure.
Your initial results should be visible when your doctor removes the bandages a few days after surgery. You should notice that your ears lie flat against your head and are not as prominent or noticeable as they were before your procedure.
You may experience slight swelling or tenderness during this stage, which is normal and will reduce as your body heals. Wearing the elastic band as often as you can for the full 6 weeks of recovery will help encourage your ears to remain in this ideal position. Once full healing is achieved, at about 6 weeks, your final results are visible.
The incision sites behind your ears should be healed and no tenderness or discomfort should be present. These sites are also discreetly hidden behind your ears, which means that no one will know you had an otoplasty unless you tell them. Best of all, your new results are permanent, which means you’ll never have to worry about your prominent ears again.
Who Is an Ideal Candidate?
This procedure is widely recommended for anyone dissatisfied with the appearance, prominence, or size of their ears. It’s highly effective, safe, and involves a relatively easy preparation and recovery process.
You should talk to your doctor if you’ve had previous surgeries on your ears or if you have diagnosed conditions affecting your inner ear or hearing. You should also discuss habits such as smoking, which interacts negatively with surgical procedures and recovery periods by increasing your risk of bleeding.
Finally, you should talk to your doctor if you wish to correct your cosmetic concerns without surgery. While alternatives to this procedure are available, they are often not as effective or long-lasting. Your doctor can help you discuss the benefits of each option and determine your candidacy for this procedure.
What About My Child?
If your child is unhappy with the appearance of their ears, this procedure could be a life-changing opportunity. Children are often more susceptible to decreased self-esteem due to bullying. Prominent ears can be a source of frustration and insecurity for your child, especially if other children exhibit unkindness in social situations.
Since the ears are fully developed and grown when your child is 5-6 years old, your child could be a candidate for this procedure at a very young age. The preparation, procedure, and recovery stages for children are almost identical. Depending on their age, your child may need more supervision during the recovery stage. It’s important to avoid disturbing the bandages or irritating the incision sites.
It’s also important to wait at least 3 weeks before resuming sports or physical activity. Finally, this procedure requires about 1 week of recovery, which may involve your child missing school. You can talk to your doctor about whether your child may be an ideal candidate for this procedure and how it can help reduce bullying and improve confidence.
Living with protruding ears can make you feel like you stick out in a crowd and affect your confidence in social settings. Even worse, this condition can be connected to negative memories of years of bullying for adults who never had the opportunity to correct this issue as a child.
Children can also be affected as they begin to notice that their appearance is different and express a desire to have a less noticeable pair of ears. Overall, this cosmetic concern, which affects so much of your daily life, can be corrected in one simple step thanks to otoplasty.
Don’t live life worrying about how to hide your ears. To learn more about how otoplasty can transform your appearance, contact the office of Dr. Steven Dayan in Chicago, IL to schedule your initial consultation today! We look forward to serving you and helping you achieve your ideal results.