Otoplasty

Ear Correction – Otoplasty in Newcastle & Sydney NSW by Dr Scott Turner

Otoplasty or ear pinning is one of the few cosmetic procedures performed in children, usually around pre-school or six years of age, when the ear cartilage is stable enough to be manipulated. The decision to proceed with any procedure is often difficult, especially when it involves your child. Is the surgery really necessary? For those undergoing otoplasty, the effects on self-confidence and psychosocial development should not be understated and the results are often life-changing.

It can of course also be performed in older children or adults. The good news is the otoplasty procedure has high satisfaction rates with minimal complications. It provide great psychological benefits to anyone who has been teased about the size or shape of their ears, has had a serious ear injury, or simply wants to improve their appearance.

Otoplasty typically serves two functions: setting prominent ears back closer to the head, and reducing the size of large ears. Ear surgery may also be helpful for the following conditions:

• Large or protruding ears (bat ears)
• Lop ear (top of the ear folds downward or inward)
• Cupped ear (a small ear)
• Large, stretched, or torn earlobes

Quick Facts

Anaesthesia:General Anaesthesia
In/Outpatient:Inpatient
Length of surgery:2-3 hours
Recovery:Most patients are back to work or school in approximately 7 days when swelling and bruising resolves. We advise our patients to avoid strenuous activity for 1 month, during this time they need to wear a headband.
Results:Final results are seen within 6 months, and the duration of those results vary from one person to another.

What can an Otoplasty do for me?

Prominent ears or ‘bat ears’, cause concern for both parents and children and are often the cause of schoolyard bullying. The ears are almost fully grown by age four, but it’s best to wait until children are around six years of age to perform otoplasty surgery. At this age, they are older enough to participate in their recovery after surgery but still young enough to minimise the psychological effects of being teased in school.

Am I suitable?

Children above the age of five years are suitable for surgical correction of this problem and adults at any age can have a correction of their ears performed.

Typical candidates have ears that are too prominent or asymmetrical, and feels self-conscious about their ears and want to improve their appearance. It is also important that you are in good general health and have realistic expectations about the outcome of the procedure. Discuss your goals of otoplasty with Dr Turner so that you can achieve the results you desire.

Your Otoplasty Consultation

Dr Turner’s consultation approach is to be both personal and professional with a high emphasis placed on understanding a patient’s hopes and goals for the treatment. After a thorough medical history, Dr Turner will examine you to assess if you are a good surgical candidate.

Dr Turner will perform a thorough examination of the ears, including the skin and underlying cartilage. Routine pre-op photographs are taken during the visit and we always strive to keep the meeting relaxed but fully informative.

In the case of younger children, special attention is paid to not alarming the potential patient while answering all of Mum or Dad’s questions or concerns.

“Otoplasty is surgery to the external ear designed to improve the shape and position of the ear, as well as aid facial symmetry and harmony.” – Dr Scott Turner MBBS(Hon), BSc, MS, FRACS (Plast)

About Otoplasty Procedure – Ear Correction Surgery

Otoplasty surgery is performed as a day case procedure and may take one to two hours depending on the nature and complexity of the problem. For adults and older children local anaesthesia is usually sufficient, however young children it is performed under general anaesthesia.

Although ear surgery is a highly individualised procedure, incisions hidden on the back of the ear. After the incisions are made, the cartilage deformity is then identified, and corrected using a combination of permanent sutures and scoring to achieve the desired contours. Sutures are also usually placed to bring the entire ear a little closer to the skull. The skin is then closed and a bulky dressing and headband is applied for about five days.

Recovery After Your Otoplasty Surgery

A dressing on the head helps reduce swelling and fluid collecting beneath the skin – it also puts gentle pressure on your ears to maintain the new position. This bulky dressing is removed after one week, then a headband is worn at night for a further six weeks to protect the repair. Most patients report very little pain after this procedure, although there may be a little discomfort or soreness if you bump your ears over the first few weeks.

After about one week following otoplasty, children may return to school and adults are often able to return to work and resume normal daily activities. After the ears have healed completely, there will usually be a faint scar on the back of the ears. However, because of the strategic placement of the incisions in ear surgery, the scars should be virtually unnoticeable and will typically fade with time.

Risks Associated with Otoplasty Surgery

As with any surgery, it is important that you are fully informed of the potential risks associated with otoplasty surgery. While all care is taken to minimize these complications, they may and do occur despite the best medical care.

It is important that you carefully read and understand the potential risks and they will be discussed in further detail when you have your consultation with Dr Turner.

Some risks are more likely to occur than others:

Risks Associated with Surgery

• Poor Scarring
• Bruising / haematoma
• Revision surgery to correct or improve outcome

Specific Risks Assosicated with Otoplasty Surgery

• Recurrence of deformity
• Infection of cartilage
• Asymmetry

Further Reading & References

Ear Correction – Otoplasty FAQs

What is an Otoplasty?

An otoplasty rectifies abnormalities or defects to the external ears and enhances the ears aesthetically. It refers to the reforming, “pinning” or reshaping of the ears by setting the ears back in closer proximity to the head. This facial cosmetic procedure is relatively simple and can significantly alter both the emotional status and appearance of a patient.

What will my recovery involve after Otoplasty Surgery?

There are various stages during the recovery process. Each individual may vary in terms of healing and recovery time. Recovery care will involve the following:
• A mild compression garment is worn on the head for the first 24 hours after surgery. Your ears may appear larger and swollen than ideal.
• It is then advised you wear a headband over the ears as much as possible for 24-72 hrs. The swelling will begin to dissipate.
• After 72 hours to the first week, you may be able to return to work. This will depend on how comfortable you feel in terms of the swelling, your what type of duties you work involves.
• During the first week and second week after surgery, you will feel more comfortable in social situations in relation to your ears.
• By month three, the swelling will have completely subsided.

WHAT CAUSES EAR PROTRUSION?

There are two elements which can make an ear look prominent. Firstly, ear projection, or how far the ear sticks out from the head. The more pronounced the ear(s) from the head, the more attention it will draw to itself. Secondly, the relative size of the ears in comparison to the head and other facial structures may be a factor. Generally size is measured from the top of the ear to the ear lobe. During an otoplasty, size and projection are addressed via a range of ear manoeuvres in order to bring the ear closer to the head in addition to decreasing the decreasing the surface of the ear (if required).

WHAT ARE THE MEDICAL CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR AN OTOPLASTY?

There are few medical contraindications to an otoplasty. If you have a history of chronic ear infections or suffered episodes of chondritis (cartilage inflammation) you may not be an ideal candidate for otoplasty surgery. If you have had previous episodes of Keloid or hypertrophic scars; there is the possibility for keloid formation after your otoplasty procedure.

HOW NOTICEABLE ARE OTOPLASTY SCARS?

Scars and incision placement are an important aspect of otoplasty surgery. Generally scars are permanent and placed in the fold between your scalp and ears. It is unusual to be able to see the scar unless you fold the ear forward. Utilizing silicone sheeting or gel may be advised to minimise scarring.

WHAT IS CONSTRICTED EAR DEFORMITY?

Cup ear(s) may be termed ‘constricted ears’ however, are also referred to as lop ears when upper pole is folded over. In this condition the ear assumes a ‘cup-like’ or constricted manifestation

WHAT DOES CARTILAGE SPARING AND CARTILAGE SPLITTING INVOLVE?

An Otoplasty can be classified by two approaches. Firstly cartilage sparing techniques avoid full thickness incisions, using sutures to reshape the ear. Dr Turner adopts a tailored method to provide a natural contour adjustment to the ear. He bases his technique on the individual anatomy of the patient. Secondly, cartilage splitting methods; which involve incisions through the cartilage and the repositioning of large portions of the auricular cartilage.

WILL MY HEARING BE AFFECTED IF I HAVE AN OTOPLASTY?

It is extremely uncommon for an Otoplasty to affect your hearing. The mechanism for hearing takes place in the middle and inner ear. Sounds pass through the peripheral auditory canal (eardrum), reaching the tympanic membrane and ossicles (the three bones in the middle ear); finally reaching the cochlea, before travelling to the brain. Any obstruction along the way can affect hearing. For individual with setback sutures which are placed too close to the external auditory canal, a narrowing of the canal can develop, which may affect the hearing. 

HOW DOES DR.TURNER RECTIFY PROTRUSION OF THE LOWER EAR?

The lower section of the ear is addressed by determining the basis of the protrusion. An earlobe reaction or pexy can be performed for individuals with prominent ear lobes. In the circumstance that a patient has too much cartilage in the region, the lower aspect of the helical cartilage (caudal facet) may be modestly trimmed along with the conchal bowl

What is Lop Ear Deformity?

A lop ear refers to the top segment of the ear being more pronounced due to an absence of antihelical fold.

What Is a Darwinian Tubercle?

A Darwinian tubercle refers to a thickened segment of the ear, near the superior and middle pole of the ear. Many patients find this condition a grievance, due to the shape, size, and asymmetrical nature of the Darwinian tubercle. Darwinian tubercle’s are common exceptions of a normal ear and can be identified in approximately 10% of the population. Decreasing the tubercle can be achieved during an otoplasty, by minimising the prominent rim of the ear (helix).

WHAT IS TELEPHONE DEFORMITY OF THE EAR?

This occurs when the surgeon aggressively sets back the middle of the ear in relation to the upper and lower segments of the ears. It creates the appearance of a telephone. Frequently, failure to adequately correct the superior and lower pole has resulted in telephone ear deformity to balance the appearance of the ear(s). This can be corrected by determining the key concern regarding the ear(s), and potentially releasing the setback sutures and in reducing the size and shape of the conchal bowl.

HOW MUCH DO OTOPLASTY PROCEDURES COST?

Otoplasty procedure costs are based on various aspects including the anticipated length of time surgery will take, the form of reshaping, and type of anaesthesia required. Ordinarily, an otoplasty conducted with a light sedation will cost somewhat less than an otoplasty requiring general anaesthesia.

HOW DOES DR. TURNER CREATE SYMMETRY FOR EARS?

One of the biggest challenges of otoplasty is creating symmetry post procedure. Dr. Turner performs precise calliper measurements of the superior, middle, and inferior portion of the ear both pre procedure and post procedure allow the surgeon an objective means of adjusting the degree of 'pinning' the ears back. Dr. Turner will create symmetry by using measures as well as understanding the healing course that takes place during an otoplasty.

WILL MY HAIR NEED TO BE CUT OR SHAVED FOR THE PROCEDURE?

No, the incisions are made behind the ear in the post auricular crease (external aspect of the ear).

Dr Scott Turner FRACS (Plas) – Specialist Plastic Surgeon

Dr Scott J Turner has spent a lifetime acquiring the qualifications, education, training, and hands-on surgical experience to perform superior cosmetic plastic surgery to give you natural, beautiful results and the improved sense of well-being you want. He is one of the top Specialist Plastic Surgeons with a Breast and Body Surgery focus in New South Wales.

Achieving this personal goal requires not only in-depth knowledge of human anatomy and refined surgical techniques but an ongoing commitment to learning the latest procedures around the world. This is why Dr Turner regularly attends both local and international surgeon meetings – discussing these advances with the leaders around the world in order to offer you the most natural, effective and safest surgical procedures.

Dr Turner and his highly trained staff will do everything to ensure that you are fully informed, while providing exceptional, world-class cosmetic plastic surgery, in a personal and caring environment.

Next Steps

Always Do Your Research

  • Download our Procedure Guides to find out more about your surgery
  • Please read our website pages and Blogs to learn more about your intended procedure

Do you need a Medical Referral to see Dr Turner?

  • A medical referral is helpful but NOT essential for purely cosmetic consultations.
  • Please obtain a medical referral from your GP or Specialist if you want a consultation for an MBS item number surgery.
  • Please note that your Medicare Rebates will NOT be claimable without a valid recent Medical Referral

Making The Most Of Your Consultation with Dr Turner

  • Please arrive slightly early for your in-person consultation with Dr Turner
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simpler clothes
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes during the consultation and thoroughly examine all the documents provided

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

How to Book Your Consultation with Dr Turner

  • You can book your initial consultation with Dr Scott Turner by paying the $350 cosmetic consultation fee in advance – when you make your appointment.

Contact us or call on  1300 641 199  to arrange your consultation in Sydney or Newcastle. Email us for more information:  [email protected]