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What to Expect After Ear Correction Surgery

Ear correction surgery, also known as otoplasty is a surgical procedure that fixes the problems of protruding, large and prominent ears and/or irregularly shaped ears. Often the ears are pinned back so that they no longer stick out (known as pinnaplasty). To put it another way, ear correction surgery is done to alter the position or shape of the ears to make them more attractive looking.

The majority of the time ear correction surgery is performed on children who are between the ages of four and fourteen because the ears are fully developed by the time a child is around four years of age. The earlier this operation is performed on large or protruding ears the less teasing from other children the child have to endure. Both men and women can also have this surgery if it is called for and there is not generally any greater risk of complications.

When ear correction surgery is done on children it is usually done by way of general anesthesia while for adults it is more commonly done under local anesthesia accompanied by a sedative to help the patient relax. Ear correction surgery is most often done on an outpatient basis at a hospital or clinic but in the case of children, sometimes the plastic surgeon will opt to make it an inpatient procedure at the local hospital. The incisions made during surgery are usually made behind the ears but in some instances are made in front of the ears. The cartilage of the ear is manipulated and remodeled by the plastic surgeon and sometimes it is necessary to take some of the ear cartilage out all together. The sutures or stitches that are used to close the incisions are of the absorbable variety which means that they do not need to be removed by the surgeon.

After ear correction surgery has been completed, the ears will be covered with a big head dressing or bulky bandage and this must stay in place for one week's time. This helps to encourage proper ear molding and healing. Once the week is up it is strongly recommended that the patient wear a tennis style headband all the time for a period of six weeks. If it is not possible to wear the tennis headband to work or school wear it as often as possible at home and during leisure time as well as when you go to bed at night. It is common for the ears to throb or ache slightly for the first few days following surgery and if this is a problem for you, the surgeon can prescribe a mild painkiller.

Once the bandage comes off, avoid bending the ear in any manner for at least a month’s time or more. In most cases a child who has had ear correction surgery can return to school in approximately seven days time while adults can return to work in approximately five days. It is important for the child to err on the side of caution while out on the playground as well as in gym class.

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