Ear Reshaping

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Another name for Ear Reshaping is otoplasty. Ear reshaping is ideal for those who wish to increase the symmetry between their ears, change the shape of their ears, or have their ears rest closer to their head. Ear reshaping surgery (otoplasty) is a cosmetic procedure through which the shape and contour of the ear are given a new definition.

Wayne F Larrabee, Jr, MD, MSH, FACS is widely recognized as one of the top facial plastic surgeons in the world. He is an author and international lecturer, respected by his peers for his extensive knowledge and tutelage of up-and-coming surgeons. Dr. Larrabee has developed a suture technique specifically for otoplasty with the intention of achieving outstanding results for his patients.

is Ear Reshaping Surgery right for you?

You may be an ideal candidate for otoplasty if you:

  • Have protruding ears that you’d like to have rest closer to your head
  • Wish to alter the overall shape of your ears
  • Want to increase the symmetry between your ears

Protruding ears are perhaps the most frequent reason that patients get ear-reshaping surgery. The need for the procedure stems from the fact that ears that stick out too much can be a distraction from other features of an attractive face. Many people use ear reshaping to reshape the ears so that their natural resting point is closer to the head.

How Does Ear-Pinning Surgery Work?

plastic surgeon doctor examines a male patient s ear for an otoplastyWhen you come in for your private consultation with Seattle’s top facial plastic surgeons, Dr. Larrabee will meet with you to discuss your cosmetic goals for your ears in detail, and you’ll determine together if ear-reshaping surgery is the right answer for you.

During the procedure, the ear cartilage will be altered to be more aesthetically pleasing, and any incisions will be hidden behind the ear. The change in the shape of the ears will, of course, have no effect on your hearing. Dr. Larrabee has developed and published a suture technique for contouring the ear folds which makes the procedure simpler and more precise. You’ll never have to think about correcting the appearance of your ears again-the results of the procedure will last a lifetime.

How long does Ear Reshaping Surgery take?

The otoplasty procedure typically takes 1 to 2 hours. The surgery is performed in an outpatient surgery center when general anesthesia is used. Adults who undergo otoplasty with a local anesthetic and sedative may have the procedure done in the office or outpatient surgery center. After surgery, the patient may spend a short period of time in an observed recovery area.

What is recovery like after ear Reshaping Surgery?

After otoplasty, the ears are bandaged and a dressing may be placed around the head. When the bandages are removed at the initial follow-up, patients immediately see the difference that has been achieved through surgery. At that time, though, the ears are still red and swollen and need to be protected from accidental bumps.

Postoperative discomfort after otoplasty can vary but is manageable with proper medication. Some patients need only an over-the-counter pain reliever. Others rely on prescription painkillers for a few days. The very minor compression of the dressing around the head can also help to alleviate soreness and tenderness. To prevent injury, a loose headband may be worn for 2 to 6 weeks. Patients may also carefully apply ice packs if needed to soothe soreness. Finally, loose clothing that opens in the front should be worn during the initial recovery stage. The ears are susceptible to injury and something as simple as putting a shirt on over the head could cause discomfort. 

Is Ear Reshaping Surgery Safe?

Otoplasty is considered a safe and effective procedure. As with all surgeries, it does have some degree of risk. Examples include asymmetry in-ear placement, poor scarring, overcorrection, and problems with stitches. It is important to take your time choosing a plastic surgeon to perform otoplasty. Training and experience can make a significant difference in surgical outcomes. 

Are there any risks involved in Ear Reshaping?

All surgeries carry some degree of risk, even those that are minimally invasive. The risks of otoplasty are similar to other plastic surgeries. They include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection 
  • Asymmetrical outcome
  • Scarring
  • Prolonged numbness or tingling around the ears
  • Suture extrusion or wound separation

The risks associated with otoplasty are generally easy to manage. Patients receive clear, concise information that outlines how to care for the ears and avoid accidental bumps during the brief recovery period. 

What is the recommended age for an Otoplasty?

Otoplasty can be performed as soon as the ears have reached full physical development. For most children, this is complete by age four or five. There are significant benefits of performing otoplasty at that time, including the pliability of the ears’ cartilage. When the cartilage is still somewhat soft, the surgeon can more easily reshape and mold the ears into better proportion with the face and head. Healing may also occur more comfortably and quickly when otoplasty is performed earlier in life. 

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Otoplasty is not limited to a pediatric procedure. Many adults who did not have the opportunity to undergo this beneficial procedure in childhood choose to schedule otoplasty in their twenties, thirties, or even later in life. The minimally invasive procedure can give a person a new lease on their self-confidence at any age.

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