The ears have a very important place in one’s facial expression. The ear development reaches 90-95% by 6-7 years of age. In other words, ear growth is completed by the age of 6-7. Therefore, 90 – 95% of the otoplasty surgeries should be performed in preschool period . Another reason is that children can be cruel at times, in other words, when a child with prominent ears reaches school-age, they may get bullied by their friends who usually act without thinking the consequences of this behavior. Therefore, it is of great importance to get this type of procedure in preschool period for the sake of the child’s psychological health. However, there are many patients who experience this type of problem especially in young adulthood after puberty. These types of patients feel self-concious due to their ears throughout their lives. If the patient with prominent ears is a woman, she will cover them with her hair. However, men will have a hard time concealing their prominent ears as they usually wear their hair short. After the procedure, the patient achieves a natural-looking ear structure.
The prominent ears refer to larger and curved ears. There is no difference in ear size between people with normal ears and people with prominent ears. The difference lies only on the shape of the ear cartilage.
What are the causes? Why do we get them?
The prominent ears are usually congenital. They are usually thought to be hereditary. In other words, some children are born with ear defects. Prominent ears can lead to emotional problems for some. Otoplasty also helps eliminate severe congenital or traumatic ear deformities. Prominent ear is a condition that can be corrected by surgery. There are some deformities that can be corrected in otoplasty. These deformities are as follows;
* Absent earlobe
* The ear is bended inwards
* The edges of the ear are folded outwards
* The ears are curled upwards
* Cleft earlobe
* The curve of the ear is rotated backwards and the ear curves towards the scalp
* The earlobe is curled in a way that resembles a question mark
* The ears are distinctly small and underdeveloped
* Partial absence of skin and cartilage in the back of the ear
* The curve in the upper part of the ear is buried beneath the scalp
* Large and unusually shaped ears
Almost all of these deformities are considered as birth defects. They affect some people negatively over time. People with these defects may experience psychological issues such as self-disparagement and the need to hide the ears. Having otoplasty will help avoid such problems. To this end, patients should consult with a qualified surgeon and undergo an examination for an otoplasty. Both psychological and physical health of a patient who had otoplasty will improve.
The otoplasty is performed in 2 different ways.
- Suture-based Otoplasty
- Laser-assisted Otoplasty
Suture-based otoplasty procedure: ears reach adult size at the age of 6. For this reason, it is recommended that the otoplasty be performed during the primary school period.
Advantages of Suture-based Otoplasty;
* It does not carry the potential risks that come with surgical operations.
* It is a very comfortable technique.
* The procedure lasts 10 to 15 minutes.
* Return to everyday life on the same day.
* No incision is required
* It is a non-surgical technique.
* This method is applied to patients who have an unusual distance between their ears and the side of their heads and who have asymmetry problems in the ears.
Laser-assisted otoplasty: prominent ears are a problem that can be observed in men and women alike. Otoplasty is a comfortable and fast procedure which yields lasting results. Before the otoplasty, the patient needs to make a consultation with a specialist doctor. After discussing the shape of ear that the patient desires, pre-approval of the patient is received. During the consultation, the ear is photographed from 6 different angles. This way, before and after photographs will be presented to the patient. The surgery date is scheduled to a time that fits the patient’s schedule. This procedure should be performed by a specialist in a hospital setting. Before the surgery, the doctor should be informed of any medications the patient takes. The patient is asked to discontinue smoking for a period of time before and after the procedure. Female patients should wait until the menstrual period is over before they have this surgery. The surgery can be performed under general or local anesthesia. The otoplasty procedure takes 1 to 1,5 hours. For the procedure, an incision is made right behind the ear. Since the operation is performed behind the ear, there will be no visible scars left. This procedure does not require sutures. Thus, there will be no suture removal after the procedure. However, recovery period can take approximately 1-2 weeks. Depending on the patient’s post-operative condition, the duration of hospital stay may vary. However, generally speaking, the patient is discharged the next day after a general examination.
Post-operative Care for Otoplasty
The otoplasty is a very comfortable aesthetic procedure. The cost of the surgery also varies depending on the technique to be performed. The technique to be applied should be determined together with the doctor depending on the patient’s ear structure.
* The patient can go outside after the procedure.
* They can take a shower within the following 2-3 days.
* The patient is asked to wear a protective headband, which is also referred to as a tennis player band, after surgery. There may be no need to put on bandages so long as the surgical area is protected from any kinds of impact during the day.
* The patient’s ears remain wrapped for 3 days after surgery. The patient is advised to avoid contact to this area.
* There will be no suture removal as absorbable sutures will be used for the procedure.
Slight swelling and discoloration may be observed in the ear area. They will disappear in a few days.
* 4 days after the operation, the patient can take a warm shower.
* As the operation is performed under local anesthesia, there will be no severe pain in about 4 hours following the procedure. After 4 hours, mild pain and discomfort may be experienced. The pain will be reduced with the painkillers prescribed by the doctor for such cases.
* Patients who are engaged in sports and physical activities, are advised to refrain from these activities for 1-2 weeks after surgery.
* The patient should exercise caution to avoid severe trauma to the ear for approximately 3 months.
* There is no risk of the ear returning to its former state as the procedure has a lifelong lasting result.
Prominent ears can lead to self-confidence issues in some people. With the help of otoplasty, patients builds up self-confidence by achieving more aesthetically-pleasing ears.