Ear deformities come in several shapes and sizes. Some ears are normally shaped but protrude further from the head than is normal. This may happen on one or both sides and may happen from either overgrowth of the cartilage of the ear or excessive bone formation behind the ear. This is often a familial trait. Another common deformity of the ear is when the ear fails to fold naturally during development. This causes the antihelix to be flat and the upper portion of the ear to become cupped.
Other, less common, defects may also occur. At times, the rim of the ear is atypically shaped or the ear is of an abnormal size. Knobs of irregular cartilage may form as well. All of these defects may be improved with otoplasty which reshapes cartilage to help with the overall appearance or how the ears are positioned.
A child’s ear is almost fully grown by the age of five or six. Performing surgery at this time is ideal because cartilage is still soft, which makes the ear easier to reshape and may result in a shorter healing time. Children at this age are also just about to enter school and can have the procedure done before potential peer abuse occurs. Though this is the ideal age, the surgery is very successful at any age including into adulthood.
Otoplasty may be done under local anesthesia in an adult, but for a child or an anxious patient, sedation may be used. After completing local anesthesia, Dr. Finn removes a small ellipse of skin from behind the ear. Through this incision, he weakens and reshapes the cartilage with sutures or re-positions it on the skull itself. We remove sutures in approximately seven days post procedure.
Following surgery, a pressure dressing is placed on the ear, which must be left in place for five to seven days. When this dressing is removed and the sutures are removed, the patient should wear a compression dressing or ACE wrap on the ears at night. We advise this method to avoid any accidental injury of the ears while sleeping. Pain is minimal following surgery, and if any significant pain occurs, it should be reported immediately to your doctor. Contact sports should be avoided for approximately six weeks, but regular exercise may be resumed once the sutures are removed.
Ear cartilage tends to have a “memory” and will occasionally spring back to some degree over time. It is important that you continue to follow up with your surgeon to ensure the improvement is long lasting.
You will receive a surgical quote and any clearance forms required at your consultation. Should you decide to proceed, we will connect you with our patient care coordinator, Shannon Jones. At this time, you will select a procedure date and pay a $500.00 non-refundable booking fee to reserve this date. Once the surgery date is set, we schedule a pre-operative appointment two weeks prior to surgery.
At your pre-op, you will have ample time to discuss your upcoming procedure in great detail and have all your questions answered. You will bring the required clearance forms to this visit unless we have already received them. We will review all pre- and post-operative care, prescribed medications, and any provisions we may give you for use pre- and post-surgery. You will review and sign the consent for surgery, and the balance will be due at the conclusion of this appointment.
It is vitally important to avoid all blood thinning medications/supplements for two weeks prior to surgery. This includes any aspirin or aspirin-containing products as well as any anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or naproxen (including Motrin, Aleve and Advil). Generally, you may take Tylenol (Acetaminophen). Avoid supplements such as Vitamin E, multi vitamins, and omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil and flax seed oil.) You will be given a complete list of medications/supplements to avoid at your pre-op. All these medications can contribute to bleeding problems following surgery and can increase the amount of bruising.
We want you back to your normal routine as quickly as possible, so in addition to avoiding blood thinners, we provide our surgical patients with a supply of Arnica Montana and Vitamin K cream which are both clinically proven to help reduce bruising and swelling. Vitamin K cream applied to your skin two weeks before surgery tends to reduce bruising. Arnica Montana is a homeopathic herb that helps to reduce swelling and bruising. We also have a laser called the V Beam Perfecta that aids in speeding up stubborn bruising! It targets the pigment in the bruise, causing it to break up and dissipate much faster than on its own. We encourage surgery patients to take advantage of this laser treatment at no charge as often as you want while the bruising is still present. We will also go over surgery specific tips at your pre-op that can help speed up the down time!