Prominent ears can be a troubling problem for patients young and old, both male and female. Large ears can cause men to grow their hair longer or tuck them in hats. It can cause women to avoid wearing their hair up or avoid wearing it short. It is also a frequent cause of teasing in school.
The good news is that it is a fixable problem! North Texas Plastic Surgery cosmetic surgeon Dr. Obaid performs ear surgery in Dallas. This procedure is called otoplasty and is used to correct large or prominent ears. Dr. Obaid performs this facial surgery regularly in both our Southlake and Plano locations. Call today for a free consultation in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
There are three reasons why ears can appear to stick out too far from the head. The first is an increased concho-scaphal angle. This is the angle that the ear makes with the side of the head. Put simply, if this angle is very small, the ears will appear to be very close to the side of the head. If this angle is very large, the ears will seem to stick out far from the side of the head.
The second reason for protruding ears is a large conchal bowl. This is the anatomic name for the round or bowl-like portion of the ear that leads to the opening on the side of your head. In layman’s terms, if this bowl is too big, the ears appear large and they stick out too far to the side.
The third reason for ears that appear to stick out too far to the side is a weak anti-helical fold. This is the plastic surgery term for the natural fold that appears near the outer edge of the ear. If this anti-helical fold is weak, the ear will stick out much further than normal.
Otoplasty is a corrective procedure that improves the appearance of the ears, usually to make them less prominent. Some of the issues corrected with otoplasty include:
The correction of ear shape offers physical and emotional benefits. In children, otoplasty can prevent or put an end to unwarranted teasing about ear shape. Children regain or retain their sense of confidence related to appearance at a time in life when they are most impressionable and vulnerable in social settings. After otoplasty, many patients express a sense of emotional relief that their appearance looks “normal.” Finally, otoplasty is a reliable procedure that is safely performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon.
Otoplasty is an outpatient procedure performed either in the office or an accredited surgical facility. Adults may undergo this ear-shaping procedure with local anesthetic. Children usually receive general anesthesia that allows them to sleep through the surgery. After the patient is properly anesthetized, the surgeon makes an incision along the natural fold where the ear meets the head.
Cartilage is reshaped as needed to achieve good ear proportions. Depending on the corrections needed, a pin or pins may be inserted to hold cartilage in place. The skin may be reshaped and trimmed, as well, in order to achieve an aesthetically pleasing appearance.
The otoplasty procedure can take one to three hours. Patients who undergo otoplasty with general anesthesia can expect to be moved to a monitored recovery area where they will remain until anesthesia begins to wear off. Patients who receive a local anesthetic, which only numbs the ears, can expect to leave the office soon after their procedure.
Otoplasty is a procedure with minimal pain. You can go home the same day and you will feel comfortable enough to resume daily activities and work within 3-5 days.
Dr. Obaid will perform otoplasty on children in the Dallas/Fort Worth area as young as 5 years of age. Ear correction can be done this young because by age 5 the ear is 90% done growing!
The otoplasty procedure is relatively low-risk. Complications are rare, with risks including:
Otoplasty patients can expect post-surgical swelling to last up to 6 weeks. The majority of swelling subsides within the first 2 weeks of recovery. After surgery, the surgeon applies a compression headband around the ears. This helps swelling and also protects the ears while stitches are healing. The headband must be worn at all times until the post-surgical follow-up visit.
Sleep on the back. Until instructed otherwise, patients must sleep on their backs after otoplasty. This prevents pressure against the ears and potential malpositioning that could alter the outcome of treatment. Sleep with the head elevated. Keeping the head elevated above the heart helps to reduce swelling efficiently.
There are two ways a patient may achieve comfortable elevation. One is to sleep in a recliner. It may help to wear a neck pillow that keeps the head from tilting too far to one side or the other. Another way to sleep elevated is to place a few pillows beneath the head. Pillows tucked under the sides can help prevent rolling.
We expect otoplasty scarring to fade significantly over several months. The incisions made for this procedure are located in the natural crease behind the ears. A tiny incision may also be made just in front of the ear. Each incision is discreetly situated in natural curves, resulting in invisible or barely perceptible scars.
Otoplasty reshapes and repositions the ears by altering the attachment of the back of the ears to the head. The results that become visible in the weeks after surgery are permanent.
Dr. Sacha Obaid is a Harvard-trained plastic surgeon who also is sub-specialized in a field called craniofacial surgery. This is a very specific field of plastic surgery that deals with facial differences. As a result, he has much more experience and training in the correction of prominent ears than the average plastic surgeon.
To set up a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Obaid to discuss ear surgery in Dallas, Southlake, or Plano, please call contact us today.