Protruding ears are probably the most common physical characteristic that cause request for facial plastic surgery. Children, long the victims of cruel nicknames like “Dumbo” or “Mickey Mouse,” are the most likely candidates for otoplasty, but this surgery can be performed at any age after the ears have reached full size, usually around five to six years of age. Even if the ears are only mildly distorted, the condition can lead to self-consciousness and poor adaptation in school. When it comes to otoplasty, conventional wisdom is the earlier the better.
Adults may also benefit from this procedure, which improves self-esteem with relative ease. Often, adults choose this surgery in conjunction with other facial plastic-surgical procedures. Not only is it possible to “pin back” ears, but ears can also be reshaped, reduced in size, or made more symmetrical. Otoplasty is a procedure that requires a combination of meticulous and artistic surgery. That is because it is just skin over a cartilage framework. In the ear there are no muscles, tendons, bones, joints, vital structures or other structures to deal with.
Dr. Romano Explains
It is a great privilege to see patients with ear problems, especially children. I see patients of all ages with all sorts of ear problems, and I realize that the one common thread in all of you is that you really dislike the appearance of your ears, have been forever self-conscious (and possibly teased), try to hide your ears under long hair, and are highly motivated to have this corrected. I understand very well how you feel, and I am very compassionate for you and for these complaints. I can cure this issue for you.
Ear problems and deformities span the spectrum of all ages and all sorts of conditions—some you are born with and others acquired. Virtually all patients, even those who have had previous surgery, can be helped. Patient requests are for smaller ears or less protruding ears that do not stick out from the head as much. Or patients request smaller earlobes, repair of torn earlobes from earrings, more normal shape to the ears, or that I make the ears match. The anatomy of the ear lends itself so beautifully to very meticulous and artistic surgery. That is because it is just skin over a cartilage framework.
I understand exactly what the cartilage framework is like, work with what you want, and perform surgery that will give you beautiful and natural results. There are many factors that come into play, in this case that must be addressed prior to your surgery. I will coordinate the features of your anatomy with your expectations, formulate a plan with you, and guide you through this process. The spectrum of different ear plastic surgical procedures I offer in my practice includes:
- Otoplasty: This is the medical name for any plastic-surgical ear procedure in which the ear is very prominent, sticks out from the head, or has unusually shaped cartilage or earlobe. A small incision behind the ear in the crease allows for exposure of the ear cartilage, reshaping, and correction of these problems or any unevenness from side to side.
- Ear Reduction Surgery: This is to reduce the size of the ear when it is normally shaped but overall too large, too long, or too floppy. The incisions are customized according to what you have and want corrected.
- Earlobe Surgery: This is to reduce large, hanging earlobes to a more youthful look. It is also for patients who have had ripped earlobes from earrings and patients who need restoration to normal earlobes that can take earrings again.
- Piercing Earlobes: Yes, I do this too.
Surgery on the ear is very well tolerated since a good local anesthesia is almost all you ever need; however, I use the local and a light general anesthetic to provide you with a very comfortable and safe surgery and recovery. The procedure is relatively short and is performed where I do surgery, which is in a hospital setting. The surgery is safe and predictable. All of the stitches are dissolvable, and you can return to work in as little as three days. You can return to some physical exercise within the second week.