Otoplasty (Correction of Prominent Ears)
Protruding ears are very common, and many people have opted to have their protruding ears surgically corrected. If you have always felt that your protruding ears were a problem for you, fortunately, plastic surgery offers a simple, routine operation that can correct the condition. The procedure is known as otoplasty.
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. John E. 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.
Because of his individual interest in ear correction, Dr. Sherman has produced several videos that are on available on his YouTube channel. These Clips show the individual anatomy of the operation, the operation itself, and the postoperative result. The videos have been viewed over 100,000 times and we encourage you to visit these sites, they are quite informative.
Otoplasty overview by John E. Sherman, MD, FACS New York Plastic Surgeon
What Causes the Condition?
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 procedure.
Both of these problems will emphasize 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 should be about 2 cm.
What can be done?
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.
When is ear surgery necessary?
If the need for ear surgery is recognized early, otoplasty is best performed when the child is at the preschool or early elementary school aged. This is the most common time for correction, though the ideal age for patients can extend throughout the early childhood years.
Adult otoplasty correction is becoming more common than correction during childhood. Performing the surgery on an adult has the advantage that it can be performed under local anesthesia, with or without sedation.
You may feel that otoplasty is merited at any time in life. Your parents may have noticed it during your childhood, and opted not to have you go through the operation, but you have now changed your mind. It is never too late to improve your appearance through ear surgery.
Where Will the Surgery be Performed?
If the ear surgery is performed on an adult, it is usually performed in our fully accredited outpatient facility. If the operation is performed on a child, several hospitals are available in the New York area. You will have the choice of either the New York Presbyterian Hospital – Weill Cornell Medical Center, tor Lenox Hill Hospital. If you are in need of ear surgery near Manhattan, the Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital, is the best option.
What to Expect in the Operating Room
If the patient is a young child, he or she may be scared of the operating room. This is normal and to be expected. 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 as well as the parents.
If otoplasty is performed for the adolescent or adult, it can be performed under intravenous sedation in our fully accredited outpatient facility. Many patients opt for sedation, depending on what makes them feel comfortable. That is always the deciding factor, and it should be the same for you.
Our anesthesiologists are fully trained and board-certified and experienced.
Recovering from Ear Surgery
There is no pain after the first day of surgery. However, you must wear a bandage for the first 3 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 surgery to avoid folding of the ear. Discoloration and bruising is usually gone by ten days. For an adult, you may return to work usually after one week.
What Are the Possible Complications?
The incidences of complications stemming from otoplasty are remarkably low. Occasionally correction of the otoplasty may be needed, since the shape of the ear in the original surgery may not hold and recurrence of the original protrusion can occur. A second ear surgery may be needed in order to repair or correct the procedure at a later time. Dr. Sherman is an expert at correcting and repairing otoplasty surgeries. Sometimes, your procedure may not have been properly done at another plastic surgeon, and Dr. Sherman is the go-to New York plastic surgeon for correcting such operations.
A Note on Ear Surgery Insurance
If you have health insurance, you should check with your policy provider to see if ear surgery is covered. 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, but we offer financing options for our patients. Our office staff will help you contact your carrier to see if this may apply for you. Schedule a consultation at our office today for more information.