What is Otoplasty?
Also known as “ear pinning” or “ear shaping”, otoplasty is a surgical procedure designed to correct the shape, size, or position of ears that, due to genetics, injury, or surgical treatment of skin cancer or other disease, detract from the overall appearance of the face. Appropriate for both adults and children as young as four, otoplasty can have a profound impact on both appearance and self-esteem, especially for individuals who have been subject to teasing, name-calling, and even bullying due to the appearance of their ears. The goal of this form of cosmetic surgery is simply to bring the ears into proportion with the rest of the face and restore a balanced, natural, beautiful appearance.
Otoplasty is designed to correct the following cosmetic issues relating to the ear:
- Ear reconstruction after tumor removal or skin cancer treatment
- Ear reconstruction to correct damage due to injury or trauma
- Cupped or shelled ears
- Microtia (“small ears”)
- Protruding ears (where the angle of the ear from the side of the head is larger than 35 degrees)
- Excess cartilage around the pinna, or outer ear
- Incorrect folds in the ridge of cartilage at the top of the ear (sticks out instead of folds in)
Although it may sound simple enough, re-shaping ears that look naturally-beautiful and harmoniously blend with other facial features requires extensive surgical experience, a keen eye for aesthetic detail, and a thorough understanding of how alterations in one area of the face impact the appearance of the whole face. Dr. Reps Sundin and Dr. Burton Sundin, Board Certified (ABPS) plastic surgeons at Modern Body Contouring and Laser Center (MBody) in Richmond, Virginia and Vienna, Virginia, have extensive training in and experience performing the type of reconstructive surgery required to ensure a successful otoplasty. They will work closely with you to understand your medical history and aesthetic goals, in order to create natural-looking, simply beautiful ears that enhance your natural beauty!*
Your Otoplasty Procedure
Otoplasty is usually performed as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia, although some patients may require the use of a local anesthesia as well. The procedure involves reshaping and re-molding the cartilage of the ear through small incisions along the back surface of the ear and/or within the ear folds, taking care at all times to minimize the possibility of visible scarring. Once the cartilage has been molded into the proper shape, internal, non-removable sutures are placed within the reshaped area to secure and hold the ear into its newly formed shape. In cases where extensive re-building of the ear is required, cartilage and/or skin may be harvested from a donor site on the patient’s body and transplanted and re-shaped into a cosmetically-appealing ear. Once the ear has been shaped, the sutures are closed with external stitches, ensuring careful placement so as to avoid scarring as well as to avoid distorting other facial features or creating an unnatural, “pulled back” appearance.
Recovery from Otoplasty
Recovery from otoplasty is usually fairly straightforward, but does require care during healing time to ensure that the ears heal in the correct position. Most individuals can get up and walk around within hours of their surgery, although children may require more time to ensure complete recovery from the anesthesia. Immediately after the procedure, the surgical area will be covered with gauze and/or bandages, which will need to be changed regularly over several days to remain clean. These bandages will keep the surgical site clean, protect it from infection and damage, and enable the ear to heal into the correct position. Some patients may experience swelling at the surgical site, as well as mild pain or discomfort, both of which can be relieved with light medication.
For at least the first 5-7 days after surgery, it is critical to avoid any activity that could compromise the newly-formed ears, including excessive motion, force, or abrasion, to prevent the ears from dislodging from their new position. Most patients can return to work within 5 days, although children should wait 7 days before returning to school. Normal exercise and regular activities can resume within three weeks of the surgery. Parents of children who have undergone otoplasty should discuss appropriate playground and gym activities with their child’s teacher during this period.
*Individual results may vary. Results not guaranteed.
Contact Modern Body Contouring and Laser Center (MBody)
At MBody Contouring and Laser Center, with office locations in Richmond and Tysons Corner, VA, our valued patients know they will receive patient care in a serene, tranquil treatment environment. Your MBody experience will provide you with a much-needed respite from the chaotic pace of everyday life—and will be your time to take care of yourself and emerge rejuvenated, refreshed, and looking your very best!
If you are unhappy with the size, shape, or appearance of your ears and would like additional information about otoplasty and how it can dramatically improve your appearance, please contact MBody Contouring and Laser Center today. We look forward to speaking with you, and to scheduling your initial consultation with one of our esteemed cosmetic surgeons.