Otoplasty, or ear surgery, can be performed if you feel self-conscious about large or protruding ears. Dr. David A. Sherris can perform personalized ear surgery to pin the ears back, creating a more flattering appearance. This treatment can be life-changing for both children and adults.
Otoplasty refers to reshaping and pinning back the external ear. So in patients with protruding ears, we pin them back. The way we do that here at the Clinic of Facial Plastic Surgery is with an incision behind the ear, and we use sutures to reshape the upper third of the ear, so to give that fold back. We then set the ear back toward the scalp and suture it back in that area.
The procedure itself typically takes about an hour and a half or two hours. It's an outpatient surgery. The earliest we typically will do the procedure is about five, six years old. But occasionally, someone is more motivated at a younger age. We also do it in adults.
Sometimes people have had protruding ears their whole lives and, finally, say, "You know what, doc? I have enough money and I've always wanted to do it." So they come in and do an otoplasty at 40, 50 years old. So really, there's no age limit. Though, of course, you don't do it in too young of a patient who wouldn't be compliant with the care afterwards.
After the surgery, there's a big puffy dressing on it overnight one night. The next day, we see you back after surgery, take that puffy dressing off, and most patients are thrilled and ecstatic at that moment because they already see their ears put back. Typically, there's not a lot of bruising and swelling, so the healing is pretty quick. The one stitch that's under the skin, we take out after a week, and then we just have patients wear a band so that the ears don't get folded or pulled while they're sleeping and during any sports activities for about six weeks.
Otoplasty can be life-changing for a little kid. Little kids can be mean to each other, and bullying is a common thing in schools. Kids with protruding ears, especially young boys, can be affected by this because they can't hide it with long hair. So when we fix their ears, there's a thrill to them and a self-confidence that, even in a young child, you can palpably feel when you see them post-op.