One of the most common procedures in aesthetic surgery is correction of protruding ears. Protruding ears (otapostasis) is an innate physical characteristic marked by a striking distance between the earlobes and the head. It is usually bilateral and can occur in combination with some other earlobe deformity. Otapostasis is not a functional problem, since hearing is completely preserved. The problem is purely aesthetic.
What is the best moment to have this procedure?
Unlike most aesthetic surgical procedures which are performed after the completion of physical development, that is, after the age of eighteen, correction of protruding ears can be done well before that. The main reason for this lies in the fact that earlobe development ends at about the age of six.
This is exactly the period when children recognize the condition of protruding ears as physical "flaw" which is best illustrated by a number of nicknames that we remember from our school days. For this reason, corrective procedure in children should be performed as soon as possible, i.e. before they start school. Of course, one of the most important prerequisites is the motivation of a child to undergo this surgery. Although it might seem unusual for a child of five or six to handle this surgical procedure which takes about 45 minutes, it is possible if the child is sufficiently motivated. Parents often bring their child for an examination because they would like their child to have more beautiful ears. However, the doctor notes that the little patient is not motivated to undergo such a procedure and that he/she does not consider this physical flaw as a problem. Basically, aesthetic procedures are performed for personal reasons only and not due to the desire of parents or other persons close to the patient.
How is the procedure performed?
The procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia, and very rarely under general anesthesia. A small incision is made on the back of the earlobe used later for the correction of the cartilage, all in order to restore the earlobes into a desired position. The patient is usually kept in the hospital for a day. After the anesthesia stops having effect, pain may be felt, but it is usually mild and can be treated with painkillers. A few days after the procedure, the patient must have bandages over the ears so that the cartilage could heal well. Physical activities are not recommended for a month after the procedure.
Does the procedure have a lasting effect?
Yes. Once the correction of protruding ears is performed it has a lasting result. Complications occur very rarely and usually in the first few days after the procedure. The complications usually include infections, swelling and pain. They are mild and easy to treat. The incision scar is linear and barely noticeable, since it is placed among skin folds behind the ear.
Recommendation for parents
Parents should not hesitate if their child has earlobe deformity, a complex and a desire to solve this problem. The first step is to consult a plastic surgeon and to learn all important information. If your child chooses hairstyles that always cover his/her ears, if he/she complains about other children teasing him/her, do not avoid talking to a professional. It is not uncommon for adults to opt for this procedure as well. They often say that this procedure is the best thing that has happened to them and that their childhood and youth would be completely different if they underwent the surgery before.