Ear surgery also known as otoplasty can improve the shape, position or proportion of the ear. It can correct a defect in the ear structure that is present at birth or it can treat misshapen ears caused by injury.
Otoplasty creates a natural shape and provides balance and proportion to the ears and face. Correction of even minor deformities can have profound beneﬁts.
Otoplasty can treat overly large ears or ears that protrude on one or both sides.
Correction of protruding ears uses surgical techniques to create or increase the antihelical fold (just inside the rim of the ear) and to reduce enlarged conchal cartilage (the largest and deepest concavity of the external ear).
Incisions for otoplasty are generally made on the back surface of the ear. When incisions are necessary on the front of the ear, they are made within its folds to hide them. Internal, non-removable sutures are used to create and secure the newly shaped cartilage in place.
External stitches close the incision. Techniques are individualized, taking care not to distort other structures and to avoid an unnatural “pinned back” appearance.
Ear surgery offers near immediate results in cases of protruding ears, visible once the dressings that support the new shape of the ear during initial phases of healing are removed.
With the ear permanently positioned closer to the head, surgical scars are either hidden behind the ear or well-hidden in the natural creases of the ear.
Discomfort immediately following ear surgery is normal and can be controlled with pain medication. There may be an itchy feeling under bandages. It is essential that bandages remain intact and are not removed, for any reason. Failure to do so may result in loss of some of the correction and may require a secondary surgery.
Aside from being important for a normal appearance of the ears, the earlobes serve women and men as popular locations for jewelry. Often, the earlobes are pierced to fit various forms of ear ornaments ranging from little studs to larger and heavier items.
How Do Earlobe Tears Occur?
Excessive weight or trauma can easily overcome the strength of the earlobe tissues leading to a tear in the gentle earlobe tissues. This split may be unattractive and renders the earlobe unusable for most jewelry.
How Can Split Earlobes Be Repaired?
Most torn earlobes can be effectively and safely corrected using delicate surgical repair techniques. The procedure is routinely performed by Dr. Shoukas in the office under local anesthesia. The procedure itself is performed without any discomfort. In order to rebuild the earlobe, the healed and scarred aspects of the tear require removal. Repair is then performed in a straight line or in a zigzag. The most appropriate technique will be discussed with the patient and depend on the specific location of injury and anatomy of the earlobe. Fine sutures are used which support the repair and minimize scaring. Small amounts of antibiotic ointment are applied at home for a few days ensuring cleanliness. The healed earlobe usually has a barely visible fine-line scar.
Can The Ear Be Pierced Again?
Yes, but Dr. Shoukas asks his patients to wait for a minimum of 12 weeks before a stud can be placed. After three months one must be careful with larger ear jewelry and loops around children. Small studs are relatively safe, but heavy ear rings should be avoided.
Earlobe Slit (Enlarged Piercing Hole)
An incomplete tear in the earlobe usually starts at the original piercing site and continues downward for some degree. The result is an earlobe hole too large to hold ear studs. Closure of the enlarged slit-like hole can be performed in the office. A new piercing usually has to be performed but has to wait for approximately 12 weeks.
Earlobe Reconstruction (Ear Lobe Repair)
A variety of problems may require reconstruct ive surgery of the earlobes. Earlobe abnormalities may result from hereditary abnormalities, traumatic events, surgical procedures (i.e., for skin cancer treatment) or earlobe changes due to body art. The reconstructive approaches to most of these problems differ and depend on the specific needs of the patient. Dr. Shoukas will meet with you during your consultation and discuss the different treatment options available to you.