Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)
- Length: 1-2 hours (generally outpatient)
- Anesthesia: General or Local with sedation
- Normal recovery: Return to work in 7-10 days, Resume light exercise after 2weeks, swelling resolves completely after 4-6 weeks
- Possible side effects: Swelling, Bruising, mild discomfort
Otoplasty is a plastic surgery procedure that reshapes the ears of children or adults. It is most commonly used to set protruding ears closer to the head. The results are immediately apparent and can dramatically increase confidence and improve self-esteem.
Ear Surgery can:
- Reduce the size of large ears
- Set prominent ears closer to the head
- Reduce or remove “lop ear”
- Reshape pointed ears
- Reshape large or stretched earlobes
- Repair torn earlobes
- Smooth creases or wrinkles
Ear Surgery is most commonly performed on children, who may experience self-consciousness or bullying
because of their large or protruding ears, but it can also be performed on adults who wish to alter the shape of their ears or who didn’t have to opportunity to pursue corrective surgery as children. This procedure is very safe and will not the child’s growth. Ear Surgeries do not address drooping brows, fine lines or wrinkles, which is why they are sometimes performed in combination with other procedures such as face or brow lifts.
How Does Ear Surgery Work?
Techniques vary slightly, just as ears do, but incisions for otoplasty are generally made on the back surface of the ear. Correction of protruding ears uses surgical techniques to create or increase the antihelical fold (just inside the rim of the ear) and to reduce enlarged conchal cartilage (the largest and deepest concavity of the external ear). When incisions are necessary on the front of the ear, they are made within its folds to hide them. Internal, non-removable sutures are used to create and secure the newly shaped cartilage in place.
Patients will experience some bruising and swelling during the first several days, and will be required to abstain from most activities for at least a week to promote healing.
Dr. Min’s Approach to Ear Surgery
Dr. Min’s focus is on natural results that give patients a balanced appearance. During your consultation, Dr. Min will work with patients and their families to understand your needs and help you create a treatment plan that will look and feel natural.
Dr. George Min is a board certified plastic surgeon with deep experience in facial sculpting procedures and a reputation for delivering beautiful, balanced results. He takes a conservative approach that focuses on patient safety and a natural appearance. Dr. Min does not believe in cutting corners, and our state-of-the-art Bellevue facility is unlike any you will find in the Seattle or Bellevue area. Our on-site surgical suite is equipped with the latest technology and is one of only a handful of locations to meet the stringent new safety certification standards.
We pride ourselves in being the best, not only in surgery, but also in patient care and education.
Your Initial Ear Surgery Consultation
The role of the consultation is to ensure that patients and their families feel informed, confident and excited, and we’ll take as much time as we need to get there.
During your initial consultation, Dr. Min will ask you about your desired appearance, as well as questions about your general health to determine if he can meet your expectations. He will analyze your ears and evaluate the shape, the quality of skin and underlying cartilidge structure. After your consultation, photographs will be taken for your medical record and additional analysis. He will walk you through your options, explain the details of the Ear Surgery procedure, and answer any questions you may have. You will have an opportunity to view extensive before and after photos.
Dr. Min share and explain his opinions with you about what is most appropriate for your face and what results you can expect. Together you will decide on the details and timing of your procedure. Finally, Dr. Min will make sure you know exactly what will happen on the day of your procedure, what you will experience while you recover, and what you can expect in the months and years to follow.
Safety & Risks of Ear Surgery
Our approach at Newvue is always to put our patients’ safety above all other concerns, and Dr. Min is a recognized expert with an impeccable track record for facial sculpting. We have invested in absolutely state of the art tools, and our on-site surgical suite is one of the first in the region to be fully approved under the stringent new safety standards.
Ear Surgery is a very common and safe procedure. Nonetheless, we feel it is important that all our patients fully understand the risk associated with this—or any—surgical procedure. The most important thing to know is that Dr. Min and Newvue will stand by you should any complications arise and do everything we can to help you achieve your desired result.
Risks associated with Ear Surgery include:
- Reaction to Anesthesia: Some patients experience an adverse reaction to anesthesia that may result in nausea or vomiting, allergic reactions and in very rare cases death. Be sure to discuss any medical allergies with your surgeon.
- Infection: as with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection. Infection will generally occur within days or weeks of your procedure, and in most cases can be treated with medication. In rare cases, and additional surgery may be required to treat severe infections
- Bleeding & Hematoma: Some patients are more prone to bruising than others and, in extreme cases, may experience excessive bruising, bleeding or skin death.
- Nerve Injury/Loss of Sensation: Some patients may experience temporary or permanent loss of sensation in or around the treated area. (However, there are comparatively few nerve endings in the ear that are susceptible to this kind of damage.)
- Asymmetry: Some patients may experience asymmetry in their results over time due to the body’s natural aging or partial rejection of the surgical procedure, which can generally be addressed with an additional correctional surgery.
Prior to Your Ear Surgery Procedure
Prior to your surgery, we will schedule a preoperative appointment with Dr. Min. The purpose of this meeting is to make sure that your procedure goes smoothly and efficiently. Our staff will review your consent forms with you, answer any questions you might have, and the risks and benefits of surgery will be thoroughly reviewed. You may be given your prescriptions to be filled prior to your surgery. You will be given a list of medications and supplements to avoid for two weeks before and after surgery. If you are a smoker, you will be advised to stop smoking at least two weeks prior to surgery. You should not smoke for at least two weeks following surgery.
The procedure may require that some hair around the ear be shaved.
Your Ear Surgery Procedure
We will do everything in our power to help you feel informed and relaxed on the day of your procedure. After you arrive at our Bellevue office, you will meet with Dr. Min and with your anesthesiologist. Once any questions you have are answered, you will be given medication to help you relax.
You will be brought into the surgical suite, where you will be prepped for surgery and given a general anesthetic or a local with sedation. Surgery usually takes 1-2 hours.
You will wake up in the recovery room, where you’ll be closely monitored. We’ll let you know how everything went and advise you on what to expect as you recover. You’ll want to be sure to arrange for someone to pick you up and stay with you for the first couple days as you adjust.
After Your Ear Surgery Procedure
You’re still our patient after you leave, and we will be there for you as you recover to answer any questions you may have and advise you on any side effects you may be feeling. Patients can generally return home within a matter of hours. You will be given detailed instructions on cleaning and caring for the ears.
Dr. Min will advise you on the specifics of your recovery program. Patients can begin moving around right away and resume light exercise after about a week. Most patients return to work after a few days, but you should avoid strenuous activity for at least 2 weeks, and avoid high impact activities (skiing, wakeboarding, contact sports) for the duration of your recovery (4 weeks).
Here’s a timeline of a typical recovery:
First 24 hours:
- Rest, eat and drink normally (no alcohol), avoid activity
- Effects of anesthesia will be gone
- Your 1st follow up consultation with Dr. Min
- Swelling will peak and begin to subside
- You can shower normally
- Bandage removal
- Your 2nd follow up consultation with Dr. Min
- Resume light activity
- Resume normal (light) exercise and physical activity (such as jogging)
- 3rd follow up consultation
- Resume all activities (including things like skiing, wakeboarding)
- Full results will be visible
- 1st annual checkup
Your results will be visible immediately, and will improve as swelling diminishes (1-2 weeks). Scarring varies and will fade over time. Dr. Min and the Newvue staff are always available to help you with any questions or concerns you may have, during your recovery and after. We want to ensure that you are completely thrilled with your new look, and we’ll consider you our patient for life.