Ear Surgery

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Prominent ears are a congenital problem that can negatively affect a person’s self-esteem. Correcting the shape of the ear through otoplasty, also known as cosmetic ear surgery, results in a natural, more symmetrical appearance. While otoplasty can be performed on an individual at any age, children as young as five are eligible to have surgical correction for prominent ears. Triple board-certified Newport Beach plastic surgeon, Dr. Douglas Hendricks, makes a small incision behind the ear, and once he has removed or reworked the existing ear cartilage and tissue, sutures are placed to move the angle of the ears to a more natural location. Otoplasty results in a more natural facial appearance that allows patients in the Orange County and L.A. area to show their face from all angles.
Surgical Technique
The technique used during ear surgery will depend on the abnormality. First, there may be an insufficient amount of ear cartilage to support the fold of the ear, or too much cartilage where the ear canal starts. Both issues will cause the ear to protrude outward. In some cases, the ears may appear too large. Regardless of the condition, the cartilage will usually be addressed and either removed or reshaped. Then, the cartilage will be secured with sutures into a new position closer to the head. The incision is generally placed within the natural folds of the ear so scarring is not an issue.
During/After Surgery
All otoplasties are performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure in an accredited surgical facility. The entire surgery typically takes about 2 hours to complete. After surgery, patients will be sent home with their heads wrapped in a compression bandage, which will later be replaced with lighter bandaging. Initially, patients will feel discomfort if they attempt to move their ears. This will subside in a few days. Younger patients will need to be monitored so they do not touch or play with their ears during the healing process.
Ear Surgery FAQs
Permanent Results?
The results following an otoplasty procedure are long lasting. However, just like any other cosmetic procedure, aging and gravity may cause increased laxity. This could eventually affect the position of the ears. For the most part, the improvements made with this surgery are still significant.
Ideal Age?
Children between the ages of 4-6 are considered within the ideal range for this surgery. From an anatomical standpoint, the cartilage is still soft and will be easier to remold and manipulate. From a psychological standpoint, having this surgery before starting elementary school can help avoid teasing and ridicule from classmates.
Both Ears or Just One?
In the majority of cases, both ears are affected. Therefore, surgery is performed on both ears. However, there may sometimes be an abnormality in just one ear. If this is the case, surgery will be performed on the affected ear, which will be made to match the opposing ear.

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Average Procedure Time  
2.5 Hours
Post-op Follow-up  
Procedure Recovery Location  
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