Also known as ear correction surgery, otoplasty is the process of reshaping or adjusting the position of the ears. An otoplasty procedure is usually carried out between the ages of four and 14, however, it can also be done if you are an adult. It’s important to note that all surgeries are different and can be tailored to your unique needs. In this post, we will try to answer the question ‘how long does otoplasty surgery take’ so you know what to expect from your otoplasty procedure.
What Is Otoplasty?
Otoplasty is ear surgery that is performed to change the shape or alter the position of the ear. This also includes surgeries on the cartilage and ear lobes. Sometimes babies are born without ears or lose them through injuries later in life. Otoplasty can reconstruct and build ears for patients.
Other common reasons for ear surgery include
- Small or cupped ears
- Correcting a downward or forward folding ear tip, known as lop ear
- Adding curves and natural-looking folds and creases to ears that do not have them, known as shell ear
Ear surgery is frequently performed to pin back ears that protrude. While this is an effective way of moving the ears closer to the head, it’s important to note that they may still move slightly over time.
How Long Does Otoplasty Surgery Take?
The length of time your procedure will take will depend on its complexity and the amount of work to be done. Sometimes more than one procedure will be performed, and this will be reflected in its duration. On average you can expect to be operated on for between one and three hours, but your surgeon will confirm this closer to the time.
The surgery can be done under local or general anaesthetic, and again this will be determined by the complexity of the procedure and the age of the patient. Often children will be put under general anaesthetic but teenagers and adults may have local anaesthetic.
What To Expect During Ear Surgery?
Most of the surgery is performed behind your ears and the incisions are small so scarring is generally not a concern.
Once the incisions have been made your surgeon will do the necessary pinning or cartilage reshaping. Once this has been done the incisions are closed up with stitches.
What To Expect After Ear Surgery?
It is important that you keep the wound clean and dry, and follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully.
You can expect some swelling and a little bleeding from the wounds in the first few days. It’s also normal for the wounds to feel a bit itchy as they heal. Try not to touch or scratch your ears during this time.
You will probably be given a headband to wear around your head for two weeks. It’s important that you do this as instructed
When lying down make sure you elevate your head so that blood does not pool and place pressure on the wounds.
Make sure you have easy to wear clothing that fits comfortably around your head so you do not bump your ears when dressing and undressing.
It’s probably best to sleep on your back too, so your ears do not come into contact with your pillow.
You will also probably skip washing your hair for a few days so that the shampoo does not irritate your wounds as they heal.
It will also be recommended that you abstain from strenuous exercise for a week or two while you recover. You will discuss this in more detail with your surgeon, as it will be dependent on the procedures you have had done.
You can expect to resume your usual day to day activities like work and school a few days after your surgery, with a few restrictions.
Numbness and tightness around the site could be present for up to a month after your surgery but it should improve thereafter.
What Are The Risks And Complications Of Ear Surgery?
Otoplasty surgery risks are rare but complications can occur and your risks should be discussed with your surgeon. The most common concern that patients have is the ears returning to their position, however, this is only likely to occur if the sutures break. Should this occur, you should contact your surgeon immediately.
Managing your surgical risks also includes ensuring you work with an experienced and skilled surgeon who has had success with otoplasty procedures in the past. Ask to see before and after photographs and try not to make a decision based on cost alone. The skill and quality of the work are more important.
It will take a few days before you can return to work or go back to school and you should heal quickly with each passing week. After a month, your wound should be almost completely healed and you will be able to resume exercise if you have followed your surgeon’s post-operative care instructions.
If you want to know more about how long does otoplasty take or how to prepare for your procedure, please contact us: (02) 8599 7161.