FAQs About Otoplasty or Reshaping of the Ears
How long will it take for the ears to heal?
It takes at least 6 weeks for 50% of the swelling to diminish, 80% within six months, and one year for the final shape to be obtained. However, within 2-3 weeks your ears will look remarkably better. The shape and contour will be readily seen and appreciated after this short period of time.
What are some of the potential complications?
All surgery has some risk, but these are usually minimal for ear reshaping. They include bleeding, infection, poor healing, areas of numbness, thickened scarring behind the ear, and visualization of the cartilage edge that has been cut to reshape the ear. One of the most problematic complications occurs if the ear is pulled upon before properly healed. If this happens, the shape will be altered.
How do you get the new ear shape?
Using a combination of techniques developed by Dr. Rosenthal, the entire ear is sculpted and reshaped. Portions of the protruding cartilage are removed and the flat upper portion of the ear is tailored with threads or stitches to produce a pleasing curve. Stitches are also permanently placed in the ear cartilage to reinforce and hold the cartilage in place.
What happens if the threads or stitches break?
One or more of these stitches may break due to excessive pulling or trauma. This would result in return of some of the ear deformity and require additional surgical intervention. But a good deal of the new shape is determined by the permanent removal of cartilage which will allow the ear to maintain a good deal of the new position and shape.
When is the optimal time for my surgery?Being in the best shape, mentally and physically with optimal skin health is recommended. Often this surgery is performed on 6 year olds and up. By the time the child is 5, the ear is almost fully grown. The determining factor is the ability to cooperate after the procedure. We want to reshape the ears prior to any possible psychological problems developing; therefore, earlier is better than later. However, adults that have had otoplasty surgery are extremely happy and content with their new look.
Where is the surgery performed?
A private Surgical Center or Bridgeport Hospital
What will I need before surgery?
You may be asked to obtain a medical evaluation by your family physician to ensure that you are in the best possible health.
Type of Anesthesia:
You are gently put to sleep so that you will be comfortable throughout the operation. Once asleep, I will place a local anesthetic under the skin so that you will feel no discomfort and the amount of medicine you receive during the operation will be minimized. By putting you to sleep your heart rate, blood pressure and amount of oxygen will be optimized.
How long will the surgery take?
My objective is to give you my best effort. That means not rushing through your surgery. I take my time and like to be meticulous. There are many things that must be done before the operation can even start, such as washing and preparing the area, making sure that your body is well cushioned, and placing your legs in special boots to compress them during the surgery. Likewise, at the end of surgery I need to clean your ears and apply a special dressing. But rest assured that being asleep for a few hours is generally very safe, so the 2 ½-3 hours you sleep will be just fine. I will also wait in recovery after the surgery to be certain that all is going well before I leave.
What can I expect?
The ears have to be balanced so that they resemble one another. They will never be identical. In fact, one may protrude more than the other or be longer or narrower. Some of these factors have to do with the cartilage and skin available for reshaping. In general, a very pleasing appearance is produced. The protruding ears are closer to the sides of the head. Both women and men of all ages find that they are no longer inhibited by the appearance of the protruding ears. Hair styles are altered to show off the ears and hats that expose them are now worn proudly. There is a smile that lasts forever after this surgery.
Will I bruise and swell after surgery?
With any surgery there is a degree of swelling and bruising. Usually, the bruising and discoloration starts to fade turning green, then yellow and is gone between 2 and 3 weeks.
Where are the scars?
There is a scar on the bottom of the back of the ear and occasionally on the front surface within one of the folds…
How long will I wear a bandage?
It is crucial to hold the ears in position for the first week. A bulky dressing is wrapped around your head to cushion the ears and protect them. The dressing will be changed over the first 7-10 days. Thereafter, you will need to sleep with a headband and pads over the ears for the next 3-4 weeks. During the day you may need to wear a head band and pads for 7-10 days.
When can I shower?
You can shower the next day as long as your head is kept dry. The ears may get wet after 7-10 days. Baths are not a good idea until 3 weeks after surgery to keep your swelling down.
Will my ears hurt?
Generally, there is minimal discomfort. You will note a small amount of soreness but this should be very mild and relieved with either Tylenol or a pain medication prescribed for you.
Will I take antibiotics?
Yes, preventing an infection of the ears is very important. You will be given antibiotics during surgery and will continue to take antibiotics 4-7 days after surgery.
When can I resume activities?
It is best to relax for the first 7-10 days. Bruising is variable and usually located in and around the ears. Seeing your best friends after 10 days is fine, but I recommend you wait at least 2 weeks before meeting new acquaintances. After 2 weeks you will look presentable. After 3 weeks you will look much better than before surgery, but you will have another 3-4 weeks for 50% of the swelling to subside. It is not a good idea to exercise or increase your heart rate for 3 weeks from the time of surgery. This will help to diminish your swelling and improve the rate at which you heal. Likewise, you must keep away from contact sports to prevent the ears from being injured or bent for the first 3-6 months.
What can I do to expedite my healing?
We will give you guidelines that inform you of what medicines to stay away from and which vitamins to take. Not allowing anyone to smoke in your presence for one week prior to and after surgery, using ice and cool compresses often, resting, eating a low salt diet and having a positive attitude go a long way to assisting in your recovery
Will smoking effect my healing?
Obviously this question is for adults: Yes- each cigarette lasts 12 hours affecting the blood vessels of the body and smoke is toxic. Smoking causes the skin to heal poorly and the complications associated with smoking are tremendous. Even second hand smoke during the weeks before and after surgery will adversely affect your results. Stopping is a must before and after any operation. Please do not smoke in the presence of children who are having or have had surgery.
When will I see you again?
Depending upon the combination of surgeries, you will re-visit the office within 6-8 days. There will be multiple visits, 3-4 which are included in your care, to evaluate your progress and support your healing needs.
Are there any additional fees to what was quoted?
If the surgery takes a bit longer (as there is never a rush) you may owe a bit more for the operating room and anesthesia. However, if future surgery or procedures are necessary, there are additional fees for anesthesia, the operating room and the surgeon.