Otoplasty is a type of plastic surgery that is performed to correct the shape and position of the external ear. Otoplasty may be performed as elective surgery, particularly in individuals with ears that protrude out from the face, or it may be required to reconstruct ears that are deformed due to injury or a congenital condition. Dr. Russo frequently consults with patients who travel from Springfield, Peoria, Effingham, and Bloomington to take advantage of his expertise in ear reconstruction and ear pinning.
One of the most frequently performed types of otoplasty is commonly referred to as “ear pinning.” This procedure is performed on individuals who suffer from overly prominent ears that noticeably protrude from their head. Ear pinning is one of the most common plastic surgeries performed on children. Children can be particularly cruel and taunts about ears can severely affect a child’s self-esteem for years to come. If overly prominent ears are not corrected early in life, then it is likely that the individual will consider otoplasty at some point
Anyone who is unhappy with the shape or prominence of their ears may be a candidate for otoplasty. In terms of age, otoplasty can be performed on anyone whose ears have reached their full size, which typically occurs by five or six years of age. This allows most children to have the surgery performed before they begin going to school. Ideal candidates should be in good overall health and, in the case of older patients, have realistic expectations for the outcome of their surgery.
While there is no “right” time to perform otoplasty, Dr. Russo has observed that younger patients tend to bounce back more quickly than older patients. In addition, by undergoing otoplasty at a younger age, years of name-calling and self-consciousness can be prevented. For these reasons, we see no medical benefit in delaying otoplasty in children who suffer from noticeably protruding ears.
The exact techniques that are used to perform an otoplasty will vary based upon the patient’s unique needs. If parts of the ear are damaged or missing entirely, the surgery will be much more involved and may require the use of skin and cartilage grafts to reconstruct the ear. During your initial consultation at our Urbana office, Dr. Russo will examine your ears and review your medical history before planning his approach to surgery.
In children, Dr. Russo usually recommends that otoplasty be performed under general anesthesia. Teenagers and adults may opt to have the procedure performed under intravenous sedation. During the procedure, Dr. Russo first removes portions of cartilage and skin from the bowl of the ear. He then places sutures in the cartilage back together to create a natural fold, which is often missing in patients with prominent ears. After this, he carefully sutures the skin back together and places protective bandages on the ears.
Most patients experience very little pain immediately following their surgery. Dr. Russo instructs his patients to wear a special compression bandage for the first 24 hours following surgery. This bandages minimizes swelling and holds the ear in place during the initial stage of healing. The second set of bandages will be provided for sleep during the first six to eight weeks. Most people are ready to return to school or work within a week of their surgery, although some bruising and discoloration may linger for up to two weeks. If this is a concern, it can usually be covered with light makeup.
If you are concerned about the prominence of your child’s or your own ears, we encourage you to set up an initial consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeon. Dr. Russo is well known for his expertise in performing otoplasty and frequently consults with patients from Decatur, Mattoon, Charleston, Danville and other communities around Urbana. Contact us today to set up your initial consultation with Dr. Russo at Rejuvenis.