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Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)

If you are bothered by the appearance of your ears, you should consider improving them through an otoplasty procedure. Do your ears look too large for your face, or do they protrude too far out from your head? These conditions and other disfigurements can be corrected with an otoplasty.

The appearance of your ears is determined by the shape, size, and position of the cartilage that forms the underlying “skeleton” of your ears. Children are often born with ear cartilage that is too large or isn’t shaped correctly. For instance, if ear cartilage sticks out in too straight a direction from the side of the head instead of bending backward parallel to the head, ears will protrude too far and look too prominent, even if they are of normal size. These deformities will become more pronounced as a child develops into an adult.

Children may become aware of prominent or protruding ears around age 5 when they begin school. Classmates occasionally poke fun at a child with protruding ears, and this situation may lead to psychological distress and self-image issues. Indeed, it is often the young child who asks the parent about “having my ears fixed” after suffering such negative comments. Children and adults will commonly hide their ears under long hair in order to avoid drawing attention to them.

What is Otoplasty?

An otoplasty is a surgical procedure that improves the appearance of the ears by making adjustments to ear cartilage and skin, creating a natural shape. This operation is performed on children from age 5 upward through adulthood. Excess cartilage and skin are removed as needed to make an oversized ear smaller, or the cartilage may merely be sculpted and repositioned to create a more normal shape sitting closer to the head. The goal is a natural looking ear that blends with your face and balances surrounding areas. The ear should basically look normal and not attract attention.

An otoplasty is an outpatient surgical procedure, performed under general anesthesia for a child, but with only local anesthesia and IV sedation for an adult. All incisions are placed on the back side of the ear, so scars are totally hidden from view.

After surgery, a soft, bulky gauze dressing is wrapped around the head like a football helmet, and is worn for one week. This helps reduce swelling. Minimal pain is well-treated with appropriate medication. Children tolerate this surgery remarkably well. Following removal of the bandage, my patients will wear an elastic head band for a few weeks to hold the ears securely in proper position as healing progresses.

Initial Consultation

You may be nervous during your first consultation but rest assured that you are in good hands. Dr. Schwartz will listen carefully to all of your concerns, making it easy to discuss the procedure with him. When you meet with your plastic surgeon, you should point out specific areas that you would like to work on and exactly what your goals are in getting an otoplasty.

After having talked about your concerns and goals, Dr. Schwartz will ask you about your health and family history, specifically any hearing problems or recurrent ear infections. He will explain his recommended surgical treatment plan and answer all your questions.

Results and Recovery

Unlike many other surgeries, otoplasty offers near immediate results when protruding ears are corrected. Results will be noted when the dressing is removed. Discomfort, swelling, and bruising are usually minimal to moderate, and resolve quickly. However, you will need to avoid strenuous activities (especially those that pose a risk for getting the ears bumped) for a few weeks.

Request a Consultation

Choosing a surgeon you can trust may be the most important decision after determining if ear surgery is the right choice for you. Dr. Schwartz is a board certified plastic surgeon who has practiced plastic and cosmetic surgery in West Palm Beach, Florida for over 25 years. He is considered one of the best and most sought after plastic surgeons in Palm Beach County due to his artistry and skill. As an accomplished oil painter, Dr. Schwartz will use his artistic sense and surgical skills to sculpt more attractive ears for you.

Please call 561-232-3120 or schedule a consultation online for more information on the otoplasty procedure.