Otoplasty Shapes and Positions the Ears in the Philadelphia, PA, Area
Prominent ears can be a distraction that takes the focus off of the central features of the face. Patients often seek ear surgery at the Philadelphia area's Cross Plastic Surgery after years of trying to hide the appearance of their ears by such means as selecting hairstyles that de-emphasize the ears or never wearing baseball caps and head bands. While variations in cause and presentation exist, the majority of prominent ears result from problems with development of the cartilaginous tissue of the ear.
Ear shape is determined by the size and arrangement of the cartilage found under the skin of the ear. Most cases of ear prominence result from enlargement of the central bowl-shaped cartilage, called the conchal cartilage, or from improper bending of the outer portions of the cartilage, known as the antihelical fold. The antihelix divides into a Y-shaped pattern as the backwards-bending fold extends toward the top of the ear.
When this bend is under-developed, the ear cartilage protrudes outward and away from the side of the head. Correction of the shape of the ear with ear surgery involves either reducing the prominence of the conchal cartilage, creating the proper backward fold of the anthelix, or a combination of the two.
The Ear Surgery Procedure
Ear surgery procedures usually take approximately one hour per ear to perform and can be completed using just numbing medicine, with no other anesthesia. Most ear surgery patients prefer to be asleep for the procedure, however. In this case, patients receive anesthesia by vein. Once they are asleep, a soft balloon is put in their mouth to prevent them from snoring during the ear surgery. The balloon is removed prior to waking up at the end of the procedure.
Ear surgery is performed through an incision that is placed in the fold between the ear and the side of the head. This incision location is imperceptible, even in boys and men with short or no hair. Through that incision, conchal cartilage can be reduced by excision or through sutures that reduce its prominence. When improper folding of the antihelical cartilage is present, the front surface of the cartilage is weakened to allow molding of its shape. Sutures are then used to hold the new position, with all of this being performed through the incision hidden behind the ear.
*Results May Vary
Before & After Photo Gallery
Before and after of an ear demonstrating poor development of the natural folds of the ear, leading to a prominent ear. Correction showing restoration of natural and appropriate positioning of the ear. *Results may vary
Ear Surgery Recovery
Patients wake up with a light wrap around the ears. The wrap is worn for two days after ear surgery to help minimize swelling. Once the wrap is removed, patients are instructed to wear a headband at night for two weeks following the procedure to prevent any unexpected trauma to the ears while sleeping. There is mild to moderate discomfort or throbbing for the first few days after the procedure, however most patients need nothing more than Tylenol for pain. Normal activities, including exercising, can be resumed right away after ear surgery, but wearing of a helmet is prohibited for three weeks.
Other Face Procedures
Ear surgery is not the only facial procedure that can alter a potentially distracting feature. Rhinoplasty surgery focuses on shaping the nose to improve facial symmetry and proportion. Chin and cheek implants can also address facial contours to create a more balanced look.