Unusually shaped ears can cause insecurity and low self-esteem, whether caused by genetics or physical trauma. Patients whose ears may be overly large, protruding, or disproportionately placed may also experience unfortunate emotional side effects.
Otoplasty, or ear surgery, can be a life-changing option, allowing patients to be free of discomfort and dissatisfaction with their ears. At the StarkMD Plastic Surgery and Aesthetic Center, Dr. Stark provides his patients with among the best ear surgery.
What is ear surgery?
Ear surgery, or otoplasty, is a surgical intervention that shapes and places the ears so they are symmetrically and harmoniously integrated with the overall look of the face and head. A wide variety of defects and aesthetic issues of the ear can be corrected with the use of this procedure.
As double board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Stark makes it his highest priority to fully understand his patients’ objectives and carefully explain risks and expected results. During your comprehensive consultation with Dr. Stark, he will take time to examine your ears, review your medical history, and develop your customized surgical plan.
How is ear surgery performed?
Dr. Stark may use local anesthesia, twilight sedation, or general anesthesia to perform otoplasty. This will depend upon the invasiveness of the procedure and the age of the patient. Ear surgery does not usually last longer than two to three hours.
Ear surgery begins with small incisions behind the ears. The ear fold normally covers the incisions after recovery, making any scarring nearly undetectable. Through these incisions Dr. Stark can trim excess cartilage away. He bends and shapes the ear cartilage to the desired configuration. He can also pin the ears closer to the head using sutures.
If necessary, he repositions the ears themselves to attain a more conventional and symmetrical placement in balance with the head and other facial features. When warranted, Dr. Stark performs earlobe repair for oversized or stretched lobes.
Once the new ear shape and position is sutured into place, ear surgery is complete. Dr. Stark wraps the ears in bandages to further ensure the new position during the healing process.
Repairing damaged or stretched earlobes
Over time, your earlobes can become stretched or damaged through injury or constant wear from earrings, making you self-conscious and preventing you from continuing to wear earrings. In some cases, the cosmetic choice of wearing “gauges” can result in significant stretching of your earlobes that can be unsightly when your aesthetic choices change with time. We commonly see:
- “V” notched ears where an earring was ripped out in an injury, splitting the bottom of the earlobe.
- Stretched earlobes from years of wearing heavy earrings
- Intentionally stretched earlobes from the use of gauge earrings
Thankfully, Dr. Stark can repair earlobe damage with a rapid outpatient procedure. The method used depends on the type of damage and desired results, but typically includes reshaping and stitching the lobe back in place, trimming off any excess tissue as needed. Earlobes usually take about six weeks to heal, after which you will be able to re-pierce your ear and continue to wear earrings if you choose to. Repairing damaged earlobes can increase your self-confidence and give you back the stylish flair that comes with gorgeously accessorized ears.
Recovering from ear surgery
Your ears will remain bandaged for about seven days after ear surgery. While you recover, it is recommended that you sleep on your back and avoid putting any pressure on your ears. You can expect to resume normal activities after about two weeks.
Ear surgery for children
Birth defects of the ear or defects that become apparent after development may be corrected with otoplasty during childhood. In fact, the cartilage of the ear is easier to manipulate and shape in younger patients. The child must be over six years old, cannot object to or seem scared by surgery, and be in otherwise good health.
For children, it is best to schedule surgery during winter or summer break to allow plenty of time to recuperate.
Schedule a consultation
To learn more about otoplasty, the next step is a private consultation with Dr. Stark. Please call our office to schedule an appointment.