OTOPLASTY / PINNAPLASTY – The Operation.

Careful preoperative assessment is required to determine the exact cause of the prominent ears so that the operation can be tailored to the patient to correct the specific deformities.
Standard preoperative photographs should always be taken.
The operation is usually performed under a General Anaesthetic but can be performed under a Local Anaesthetic if the patient wishes.
It takes about 1 hour per ear.
A cut is made on the back of the ear to expose the cartilage. The cartilage is then reshaped with ‘scoring’ or ‘sutures’ or a combination of both. Scoring is where cuts are made on one side of the cartilage to weaken it allowing it to bend and create a new anti-helical fold. Sutures bend the cartilage and hold it in the new position creating a new anti-helical fold. Which technique is used depends on the thickness of the cartilage.
Different techniques are used to reduce the size of a conchal bowl, if required – some require the removal of cartilage , some do not.
The skin incision is closed with absorbable sutures.
At the end of the operation a bandage is put over one or both ears more for protection than to hold the ears in place. The bandage will stay on for about a week depending what has been done.

OTOPLASTY / PINNAPLASTY – Before and after photos

OTOPLASTY / PINNAPLASTY – After The Operation.

10-14 days off school or work is advised.
Any pain is usually well controlled with simple over the counter pain killers such as Paracetamol.
When the head bandage is removed I recommend that my patients protect the ears at night by wearing a head band such as a tennis sweat band for 6 weeks. This stops the ears from being turned back on themselves when turning over in bed at night. The band should not be too tight – just tight enough to protect the ears and not come off during the night.
Hair washing can occur 10 days after the surgery.
I would advise against swimming for at least one month.
No contact sports for 8 weeks.
There are no restrictions on flying.

OTOPLASTY / PINNAPLASTY – The Risks of Surgery.

  • Infection- uncommon and usually responds well to antibiotics. Should be suspected if there is worsening pain during the first 10 days
  • Haematoma- uncommon and usually responds well to antibiotics. Should be suspected if there is worsening pain during the first 10 days.
  • Deformity- if a severe infection gets into the cartilage, the cartilage can be damaged and change its shape leaving a deformity of the ear. Very uncommon.
  • Keloid scar- this can occur in 3% of people. It is where the scar on the back of the ear keeps on growing forming a large lump. A keloid can be difficult to remove because there is a chance it may grow back.
  • Numbness- the ear ay feel numb afterwards. this nearly always corrects itself but may take many weeks.
  • Asymmetry- the aim is to get the ears as symmetrical as possible but sometimes there may be minor asymmetry. This is not usually a problem as many peoples ears are slightly asymmetrical.
  • Recurrence.- it is possible for the ear to stick out again. The cartilage is springy and has a memory. During the operation it is weakened and held in place with stitches. If the ear is knocked in the early stages the stitches could tear or break and the cartilage may return towards its original shape. After a period of time the cartilage adopts its new shape. Recurrence is uncommon.
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OTOPLASTY / PINNAPLASTY – The Alternatives.

THE EARFOLD

The earFold is a new minimally invasive alternative to the standard OTOPLASTY.
It is suitable for some people with prominent ears.
The procedure is performed under a local anaesthetic.
It takes 10-20 minutes per ear and there no bandages after the operation.
The patent can return to work the following day (though there will be some bruising on the ears).

Patient Comments

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