Introduction

Even if the ears are only to a small extent deformed, this shortcoming may lead to children’s frustration and non-adaptation to the environment of their school mates. Even in adults, the effects are not only in the aesthetic range, but also in the psychological and social one. The technique in this area allows not only the straightening of the ears, but also their re-shaping and reduction of size. Many times, the adults resort to this intervention combined with other facial plastic surgeries. Otoplasty, the adjustment of flap ears, is carried out in order to draw the ears closer to the head or in order to make them smaller. Usually flap ears are asymmetrical; also there might be size differences between the two ears. The purpose of the surgery is to achieve this symmetry, but we cannot promise a perfect symmetry.

What patients can benefit from otoplasty?

The surgery is carried out after the age of 4 or 5 when the ear has almost reached the adult dimensions. It is advisable that the surgery should be done before the patient is enrolled in institutions as kindergarten or school in order for the patient to avoid psychic trauma due to unsavoury comments. It is preferable that initiative should stem from the children in the first place as thus they will be more co-operative and satisfied with the outcome.

Surgery hazards

There is no operation without hazards. When the surgery is carried out by an experienced surgeon the complications occur seldom and are usually of little importance. There are great differences among the patients as regards their healing rate so that the result can never be completely foreseen.
To a reduced extent, tiny blood clots may crop up behind the ear, along the incision line or slight infections located on the tegument or cartilage, which can be treated with antibiotics.

Before surgery indications

  • do not eat and drink anything after midnight before the surgery;
  • it is forbidden to take aspirin and other drugs that contain aspirin for 2 weeks before the surgery;
  • in women the surgery must be done as a rule outside the menstruation period;
  • you must tell the doctor or the anesthesiologist if you have medical problems (hypertension, vascular problems, heart failure, diabetes, lung problems, bleeding problems, epilepsy, neurological problems, allergies to certain drugs);
  • you must tell the doctor if you wear dental prosthesis or contact lenses;
  • if you smoke, plan to stop smoking for 1-2 weeks before the surgery and do not start smoking until at least 2 weeks have passed from the surgery;
  • avoid extra exposure to sun before the surgery, especially of the facial area;
  • do not keep a strict diet before the surgery because it can delay the healing;
  • if you catch a cold or you have an infection of any kind, the surgery must be postponed.

Surgery

With very young children the surgeon will choose complete anesthesia and with older children and adults, local anesthesia combined with light intravenous anesthesia. The operation lasts for an hour. The incision is performed behind the ear in order to bring forth the cartilage. Afterwards, by means of non-resorbable stitches, the cartilage is reshaped, ligatured and brought closer to the head. After the staunching of blood the surgeon goes on to stitch up the tegument.

Post-surgery hospitalisation

The surgery can be done on an ambulatory basis or with a one day hospitalisation. The patients should wear a compressive bandage for a week, after which the wear of a ribbon round the head for another month. The stitches will be removed after a 7 or 8 days as this can be easily done by the patient's family GP.

Post-surgery recovery

The children may go back to kindergarten or school after a week (but under supervision during the first month) and the adults may go back to work after 2 or 3 days.

Conclusions

The results of this operation turn out very good but you should not expect the operated on ears to look perfectly symmetrical, which is also unnatural for the ears.

Find out how you can benefit from this intervention. Make an appointment for an examination at Prof. Dr. Bratu.