About 5 percent of the population suffers from prominent ears, a condition that is genetically inherited and causes the individual to have ears that are overly large and/or stick out from the side of the head. It is a great source of discomfort and insecurity in these individuals, especially when they’re children. They are often bullied and the subject of name-calling. As adults, people with prominent ears try to hide them with long hairstyles and don’t like to put their hair up.
Otoplasty is a surgical procedure designed to improve the shape and size of the ear, as well as adjust the proportion and orientation of the ear. It has its origins in ancient India, but the techniques weren’t refined until the twentieth century. This procedure can help individuals who have overly large ears (macrotia), or overly protruding ears.
Primarily, otoplasty involves trimming down cartilage. For protruding ears, the cartilage behind the ear is the target area. An incision is made behind the ear, just at the spot where the ear connects to the head. Once the skin is pulled back, the doctor will remove the excess cartilage and use internal, permanent sutures to hold the remaining cartilage in place while it heals. The ear is effectively “pinned” back so that it doesn’t stick out so far.
If the shape of the ear needs to be altered, an incision may be made on the back surface of the ear. From there, the doctor can remove excess cartilage to reduce the size and refine the shape of the outer rim of the ear or the conchal bowl (the largest concavity of the ear).
Patients can be put under a short anesthesia in an operating room for the procedure, or the doctor can use a local anesthetic in the doctor’s office.
There will be a little swelling and some minor discomfort after the procedure is complete. Suture dressings will be in place for the first couple days, then the patient can wear an athletic headband for about a week. Pain medication and other post-surgery instructions will be explained by your doctor during your surgical consultation.
Am I a Good Candidate for Otoplasty?
If you are healthy and have prominent ears, generally you are a good candidate for the procedure. This is also one of the few cosmetic surgeries that can be performed on children. If a child is 5-7 years old, able to follow instructions, and capable of communicating his or her feelings about the surgery, he or she can be considered for the surgery, too. It is actually advised that if a child suffers from prominent ears, they undergo otoplasty before they become the target of bullying at school.
Meet the Doctor
Dr. Todd Hobgood is a double board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in various surgical procedures, including otoplasty. He graduated at the top of his class in medicine from Ohio State University before establishing his own private practice, Hobgood Facial Plastic Surgery, in Scottsdale, AZ. He practices out of six different hospitals in the Phoenix valley area in addition to performing surgeries out of his own office. Dr. Hobgood has the training and knowledge to conduct surgical consults on every face, neck, and head cosmetic procedure.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are interested in an otoplasty consultation for yourself or your child, contact our office at (480) 418-6415 or fill out the contact form on our homepage. Our staff is standing by to answer questions and schedule you an appointment so you can be on your way to greater self-confidence and a brighter future for you or your child.