What does otoplasty consist of?
Otoplasty is a surgical operation that corrects alterations of the shape and position of the ears. Generally it is performed to adjust prominent ears to a more normal position closer to the head or to reduce the size of large ears. These problems of shape or position of the ears can cause psychological problems in some patients and force them to wear their hair long to try to cover the defect. In children, it can even cause disorders in their relationships with their schoolmates or educational difficulties. The result of this operation tends to be very satisfactory for the patient and eliminates the complexes caused by the defect.
Does it require hospitalisation?
Depending on the age of the patient to be treated, the operation can be performed with either general or local anaesthetic. With children, a short hospital admission is recommended. But usually this operation is performed with local anaesthesia and gentle sedation.
When are the stitches removed?
The sutures tend to be removed after six or seven days. After the operation, the ear displays a certain reddening and swelling that disappears after this period of time. In rare cases, for a couple of months a little internal suture thread my be eliminated through the skin, but it can be removed with no problem.
Is this operation painful?
The post-operative pain of otoplasty is generally slight, and it disappears between twenty-four and forty-eight hours. It requires gentle analgesia.Does it leave visible scars?The scars are not visible, because the incision is made in the rear of the ears.
When can the patient go back to normal life?
Twenty-four hours after the operation. But as the patient has to wear an elastic band for six or seven days, this will be the sick leave period. Patients have to wear a broad band for sleeping for a month.
What risks are there in this operation?
A small percentage of patients may develop bruising, which either dissolves spontaneously or requires drainage. Occasionally there may be an infection of the cartilage that enlarges the scar tissue of the ear: treatment consists in administering antibiotics. And very rarely, there may be a relapse consisting in a separation of one or both ears after the operation. If this occurs, it will always be less visible than the situation prior to the operation and it will be solved with a slight retouch with local anaesthesia, but after the fourth month following the operation.