Otoplasty, the correction of prominent or protruding
ears, is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures
that is performed to correct developmental abnormalities from
birth. Dr. Sherman is particularly interested in the correction
of prominent ears and performs otoplasties or "ear
pinning" on a regular basis. He has been featured in magazines for the correction
of prominent ears in children, and has performed the procedure on the Today Show. Dr. Sherman is also the inventor of an instrument that
helps in the correction of prominent ears.
Otoplasty overview by John E. Sherman, MD, FACS New York Plastic Surgeon
The deformity: There are several anatomical features
that cause the protrusion of the ear. They are the lack of
development or partial development of the antihelix, or a
deep concha (cup) of the external ear. In most patients there
is a combination of both of these features that may need to
be adjusted during the otoplasty. Both of these problems will
add to the protrusion of the ear, which is the distance
from the edge of the helix (the ear rim) to the mastoid (the
skull behind the ear). The normal distance of this measurement
is about 1.8 cm.
Operation: The nature of otoplasty plastic surgery
procedure varies, depending on the problems that must be corrected.
These problems, as noted above, include: a deep cup of the
ear (concha), a lack of development of the fold in the ear,
and various cartilage abnormalities. All of these will be corrected during surgery.
If the ear surgery is performed on an adult, it is usually performed in our fully accredited outpatient facility. If however, it is performed on a child,
or an adult requires the use of the hospital, several hospitals are offered. You will have the choice of either the New York Presbyterian Hospital - Weill Cornell
Medical Center, the Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital, or Lenox Hill Hospital. Or in Connecticut, The Greenwich Hospital.
Otoplasty often is performed at one of two stages in life. If
recognized early, and correction is desired, otoplasty is best performed when the child
is at the preschool level - age 5 thru 7. This is the most common
time for correction, and continues through the early childhood
years. Adult otoplasty correction now becoming more common than the correction during childhood. It has
the advantage that it can be performed under local anesthesia, with
or without sedation.
Anesthesia: Because the young child cannot cooperate,
and the fear of the operating room is often strong, Dr. Sherman
recommends that otoplasty on children be performed under general
anesthesia at the hospital. During the induction of anesthesia,
one parent is allowed in the room until the child is asleep.
This is assuring and comforting for the child. If otoplasty
is performed for the adolescent or adult, it may also be performed
under intravenous sedation in our fully accredited outpatient facility.
Our anesthesiologists are fully trained and board-certified and experienced.
For children, we use a pediatric anesthesiologist offered by the hospital.
Convalescence: There is no pain after the first day
of surgery. However, you must wear a bandage for the first
6-7 days after the procedure. This keeps the gentle compression intact. We do recommend
that you wear a ski band to sleep for 1-2 months after otoplasty
surgery to avoid folding of the ear. Discoloration and bruising is gone by ten days after the otoplasty. For
the adult, you may return to work usually after one week.
Complications: The incidence of complications for otoplasty
is remarkably low. Occasionally correction of the otoplasty
may not stay, and recurrence is possible. This may be repaired
or corrected at a later time. There are additional complications
that can occur, which will be reviewed at the time of consultation.
Insurance Reimbursement: There are some insurance policies
that reimburse the cost of the otoplasty operation
if performed in the early childhood years. This is not a common occurrence. Our office staff
will help you contact your carrier to see if this may apply
To set up a private consultation with Dr. Sherman, contact us today. Call us at (212) 535-2300 or e-mail us.