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Otoplasty is ear surgery designed to improve the shape of the ear. Although the ideal age for otoplasty is age 5 to 6 years old (when the ear is fully developed and just before a child enters school), otoplasty can be performed any time after the ear is fully developed. It is often sought out by adults who didn’t have the opportunity to be treated earlier in life. 

What can ear surgery accomplish?

Many children with noticeable ears often get teased, and many adults who have this condition feel self-conscious. Ear surgery can greatly help in these situations by correcting the appearance of a variety of specific ear conditions. Commonly corrected conditions with otoplasty include:

  • Overly large ears
  • Elongated earlobes
  • Overdevelopment of the conchal bowl cartilage (a “cup ear”)
  • A failed development of the anti-helical fold (a “lop ear”)
  • Ears that significantly protrude from the head

Incisionless otoplasty

Although otoplasty is a surgical procedure, another option is incisionless otoplasty. This is a procedure in which minor deformities can be improved without incisions or cutting into the ear by using threading suture techniques. Sutures are carefully placed through the curvature of the ear to allow for re-shaping. With non-surgical otoplasty, there is less swelling and a shorter recovery time.  

Ear Surgery Before & After

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Otoplasty surgical details

While otoplasty is typically performed with general anesthesia for children, IV sedation is generally sufficient for adults. For adults, the outpatient procedure may be performed in our AAAASF-certified outpatient surgical facility. For children requiring general anesthesia, ear surgery may be performed at Cape Surgery Center (part of Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System).

Although the procedure typically takes approximately two hours, the precise details of you or your child’s specific otoplasty will depend on the kind of operation is being performed. Whether or not the procedure is an non-surgical otoplasty or traditional will also depend on your unique case. During your consultation with us, we will walk you through the entire process of the procedure, recovery, home care, and follow-up visits so that you’re fully educated on every detail of the otoplasty.    

Surgical otoplasty recovery 

Initial recovery from surgical otoplasty will take between 1 and 2 weeks. Following the procedure, patients may experience mild bruising and redness, as well as swelling and numbness of the ear(s). These will gradually resolve over the first few weeks after surgery.

For young children, a protective head band is recommended while sleeping for the first three weeks and continuously during this time. Any situation where there is potential for a blow to the ear (e.g. basketball, wrestling) should be avoided for six weeks following surgery. Young children should also understand that they cannot touch their ears during recovery. Final results are apparent in about three weeks, and results are permanent. 

Incisionless otoplasty procedure and recovery

For incisionless otoplasty, local anesthesia may be used for adults. If the patient is too young to remain still during treatment, general anesthesia can be used.

Once the area for treatment has been numbed, a needle will be used to puncture the front of the ear. The sutures will be placed in a rectangle pattern on the back of the ear, and will pull the skin and cartilage closer to the head. After treatment, a surgical dressing will be applied. Most patients recover from non-surgical otoplasty within 7 to 10 days, and return to full activity within three weeks.

Otoplasty in Sarasota and Tampa from Holcomb - Kreithen Plastic Surgery

Dr. Holcomb is a respected otoplasty surgeon with over 15 years of experience. If you’re interested in ear surgery in Tampa for you or your child, please schedule a consultation with us. We will be happy to address any questions or concerns and walk you through the procedure. To learn more about surgical or non-surgical otoplasty, contact us today. 

Holcomb - Kreithen Plastic Surgery & Medspa

Tampa Bay residents: 

If you want to learn more about our Tampa office and otoplasty procedure, please visit this page.

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