Otoplasty describes any kind of plastic surgery done on the outer ear. A plastic surgeon may operate on the ears to correct their position, size, or shape. Ear pinning is one of the more common procedures in Melbourne, and it is done to make protruding ears lie more closely against the head.
How Old Does Someone Have to Be to Undergo Otoplasty?
Our surgeon usually prefers to wait until the cartilage in the patient’s ears has stabilized, which typically happens by the time they are around five years old. Many parents take advantage of this fact to schedule ear-pinning or other types of otoplasty when their child is between five and seven years old. Consequently, their child is able to start school with normal-looking ears.
What Else Affects a Patient’s Candidacy for Otoplasty?
Age isn’t the only factor our surgeon considers. For example, it is best that the patient not smoke. Smoking increases the risk of such complications and the likelihood of scarring. A patient who smokes is advised to quit several months before undergoing otoplasty to ensure a problem-free operation and recovery.
It is also best if the patient has good overall health. Heart disease, clotting disorders, and lung problems all increase the risks of complications during and after surgery. Patients with such conditions may require extra monitoring or medication to ensure a successful outcome. Patients with ear infections may have to wait for the infection to clear up before undergoing surgery.
What Does Otoplasty Involve?
While there are many possible different procedures, Mr. Salerno follows a standard protocol. For example, he always asks about the patient’s medical history, particularly about any injuries or infections affecting the ears. Similarly, he asks about any medications the patient has been taking and about any surgeries they have undergone.
The surgeon then describes the various possible procedures and what the patient can expect. He examines the patient’s ears and determine what the best position, size, and shape would be. He may also take a picture of the patient’s ears for their medical records.
For the procedure, the patient is given some type of anesthesia. In most cases, our surgeon makes an opening on the back of the ear where it joins the head. The resulting scar is thus be out of view. In some cases, our surgeon makes the opening on the front of the ear. In this situation, he usually makes the opening within the cartilage folds to hide the scar as much as possible.
Most patients in Melbourne are able to return to school or work about a week after their otoplasty. Adults who undergo otoplasty can usually go home shortly after the procedure, but children may have to spend a night in the hospital. Regardless of their age, the patient’s ears are bandaged, and they wear a protective headband for around three days.
What is Ear Pinning?
Ear pinning, also sometimes called an ear tuck, is a cosmetic surgical procedure done to make protruding ears lie closer to the head. Protruding ears are defined as sticking out more than 2 cm (0.79 inches) from the head. The procedure may take anywhere from one to three hours. The patient is given anesthesia beforehand.
Our surgeon creates an opening at the back of the ear to reach the cartilage. After trimming away the excess cartilage, he then repositions the ear so it is closer to the head. In some cases, he doesn’t remove any cartilage but he does remove excess skin and repositions the ear.
What is Macrotia?
The word “macrotia” comes from the Greek words for “large ear,” and it thus describes abnormally large ears. While macrotia can be a birth defect, it can also be caused by the aging process. The ears are among the few body parts that continue growing throughout a person’s lifetime. Consequently, older people usually have larger ears than do young people.
The top half of the ear is usually more severely affected, so the surgeon focuses on that part of the ear. He then removes the excess tissue while making sure the patient still has a natural-looking ear rim.
What is Cauliflower Ear?
Cauliflower ear, also called “boxer’s ear” or “wrestler’s ear,” is a deformity that results from a blow or other injury that is most commonly caused by contact sports like wrestling. The injury causes hematomas to develop that cause blockages within the ear’s blood vessels. The cartilage then dies and collapses in on itself. The ear then develops fibrous scar tissue that deforms it further.
What is a Split Earlobe?
A split earlobe is another disfigurement caused by an injury. It is most commonly caused by a dangling earring that snagged on something and was pulled out of the earlobe or by an overly heavy earring that dragged downward and split the earlobe in half. The procedure chosen to repair the split earlobe depends on the age of the injury. For example, if the patient arrives immediately after having their earring pulled out, the surgeon may be able to simply stitch the halves of the earlobe back together. If the wound has already scarred over, however, the surgeon performs a more complicated operation.
What are Gauges?
Gauges are a type of jewelry used in body modification. A person who uses gauges starts by having their ears pierced. They then use gauges or tapers of increasing size to stretch out their earlobes. Eventually, they have very distended earlobes that surround the gauge.
Many patients in Melbourne stop wearing gauges as they get older, and they want to close the hole in their distended earlobes. The operation done to repair the earlobes generally takes 15 to 60 minutes, and most patients receive a local anesthetic. Mr. Salerno removes the interior of the distended earlobe and then reshape and stitch the remainder to create a normal-looking earlobe.
What are Keloids?
Keloids are fibrous growth caused by the excessive formation of scar tissue after an injury. They often grow beyond the bounds of the original injury and can become quite large and disfiguring. Keloids are notoriously difficult to treat, for they often grow back after being surgically removed – and recurring keloids can be bigger than the original keloid. Keloids are more common in people with dark skin and are thus most likely to affect people of Hispanic, Asian, or African descent. They are also more likely to develop in teenagers and young adults.
Steroid injections can be used to both relieve the itchiness caused by keloids and to reduce their chance of returning after being excised. Radiation treatments and pressure earrings may also help prevent keloids for coming back.
What is Microtia?
Microtia is a birth defect in which the patient is born with an underdeveloped ear. While microtia can affect both ears (bilateral), about 90% of cases are unilateral or affect only one ear. Microtia can range in severity from having a normal-looking and abnormally small ear through having a small and deformed ear to having no ear at all (anotia). Children with microtia are also often born with missing ear canals. Microtia can occur on its own or be part of a syndrome.
What is Cryptotia?
Cryptotia means “hidden ear,” and it describes a birth defect in which the upper part of the ear is buried under the skin. The ear may also be deformed. It is most common in people of Asian descent; about one in 500 Japanese is born with cryptotia. Mr. Salerno may recommend a non-surgical treatment called “ear molding” for some cases. Ear molding works best on patients that are under five years old. In other cases, surgery may be necessary to unearth their ears and give them a more normal appearance.
What is a Cupped Ear?
A cupped ear, which is also called a lop or constricted ear, is a birth defect affecting the top part of the ear. In mild cases, only the helix or topmost rim is wrinkled or folded over. More severe cases involve a greater portion of the ear. Like cryptotia, a cupped ear can sometimes be treated through ear molding, which can be used on patients as young as a few weeks old. If the child’s cartilage has already stiffened, however, surgery may be necessary. Surgery may also be necessary if the ear molding didn’t work.
What is Stahl’s Ear?
Also sometimes called “Spock’s ear,” Stahl’s ear is a congenital deformity in which the upper part of the ear is pointed. There is also a third fold in the cartilage. Ear molding can correct the problem if started early. After the child’s cartilage has solidified, which happens when they are around five, they require surgery.
Get In Touch with Us for More Information
To learn more about what otoplasty may be able to do for you, we warmly invite you to reach out and make an appointment with Real Cosmetic Plastic Surgery. At our convenient locations in Moonee Ponds and Werribee by Melbourne, Mr. Salerno and his dedicated team of professionals are pleased to explain your options in greater detail and answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to set up your consultation!