Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)

The ear is generally not a part of the anatomy that is considered beautiful. However, ears that are misshapen, overly large, or otherwise prominent can draw unwanted attention and even cause embarrassment to an individual, becoming a source of teasing, taunting, and unfortunate name-calling. Many individuals are very conscious about the shape of their ears and use many techniques to hide or mask them. Some people grow their hair long, while others might wear hats or beanies. Fortunately, otoplasty is a reconstructive ear surgery procedure that corrects the shape, size, and prominence of the ear. Dr. Darrell Perkins offers ear surgery at our practice in Sydney and Sutherland Shire, and has performed the otoplasty procedure on many patients from across New South Wales to help make their ears appear less prominent and more natural.

Otoplasty for Children and Adults

Prominent ears are of course a congenital abnormality in that they are present from birth and are developmental in nature. They are evident from an early age and become more evident as a child grows. Because of this, we offer reconstructive ear surgery to young children from Sydney, Sutherland Shire , and nearby areas.

There are several advantages to correction of the ear at a relatively young age. The main one is to avoid the psychological issues of a child being teased at school. Teasing can cause problems with self-confidence and can make children somewhat ostracised and outcast in the school setting.

We generally recommend otoplasty for children who are between four to six years old. Children are not body-conscious until age six or seven, and thus correction at an earlier age prevents children from being teased. Children at this age also tolerate reconstructive ear surgery well and can bounce back with few problems. In addition, a child’s ear cartilage is very soft, pliable, and easily mouldable at this age, which helps in some of the technical aspects of the reconstructive ear surgery.

However, otoplasty can be performed at any age on any patient at our practice. Dr. Darrell Perkins has operated on numerous patients of all ages. For more information about reconstructive ear surgery at our practice serving Sydney, the Sutherland Shire, the South Coast and New South Wales, please contact the office of Dr. Darrell Perkins today.

The Ear Surgery Procedure

Reconstructive ear surgery is comprised of two elements: removing some skin from behind the ear and re-shaping cartilage to make the ears less prominent and more normal-shaped. During otoplasty, incisions are created behind the ear and an ellipse of skin is removed to pull the ears back. Scars are not readily visible, even from behind. Patients usually form an excellent scar.

The ear cartilage itself is elastic in nature and has a memory. The otoplasty technique used involves going through the posterior aspect of the cartilage and scoring the anterior (front) surface to allow it to bow back permanently. Then, sutures are used to hold the outer fold of the ear to form a normal shape. Otoplasty gives the ears a more natural shape and brings the actual plane of the ear back to a position that is more parallel to the side of the head.

Recovery after Otoplasty

Reconstructive ear surgery is routinely performed as a day operation. However, patients who wish to stay overnight are able to do so. All of the sutures placed during otoplasty at our practice are dissolvable, though a weaving suture is usually tied over a bolster behind the ears to keep the repair in place for a period of about six days until the bandage is taken off. When the ear surgery bandage is removed, the ears may have some degree of swelling and bruising, which normally resolves quickly in the following weeks.

Pain is not a major factor during otoplasty recovery as long-acting local anaesthetics are used at the time of the procedure. Simple analgesics  can be used for pain relief.

Recovery from otoplasty is very straightforward and the operation has a very low complication profile. However, precautions should be taken during the post-operative period for about six weeks to avoid the ear being pulled forward, and thus contact sports such as rugby etc should be avoided unless the appropriate headgear is being worn. Patients should avoid having a haircut, or specifically warn the hairdresser not to pull the ear forward for fear of pulling through the stitches or disrupting them. Excessive exercise or activities can promote swelling and bruising, and are discouraged in the first week. Patients can usually return to work or school after a week.

Find Out How Otoplasty Can Benefit You

Otoplasty has helped many of our patients from throughout New South Wales benefit from a more normal ear appearance. Dr. Darrell Perkins uses the latest techniques to provide the most natural-looking results possible. For more information about reconstructive ear surgery, please contact our Sydney practice, which serves patients from Sutherland Shire, Wollongong, and the South Coast.