Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ear Surgery: What to Expect

Ear Surgery: What to Expect
by Dr. Diane Gibby • M.D., P.A., F.A.C.S 
Otoplasty, or ear surgery, is the only cosmetic procedure that is performed more frequently on children than it is on adults. Because ears are almost fully developed by the age of four, many parents opt to have their child's ears surgically reduced during pre-pubescent or early teen years. Of course ear surgery is also performed on thousands of adult patients a year. However, the cartilage in the ear becomes less pliable with age, which could limit the enhancement capabilities available to the operating surgeon.

Otoplasty is usually performed as an outpatient procedure in a hospital or doctor's surgical facility. For younger patients, general anesthesia is usually administered so that children are asleep throughout surgery, while surgeons may prefer local anesthesia with a sedative for adults and older teens.

The doctor will begin surgery by making an incision along the back of the ear. Depending on the desired results, the surgeon will then reshape the cartilage and remove skin. In some cases pieces of cartilage is trimmed or removed, while other techniques involve the
pinning of cartilage with permanent sutures to pull the ear back closer to the head and make it appear smaller. Regardless of the technique or whether or not cartilage is removed, permanent sutures are used to hold the ear in place. After this, temporary stitches are used to close the incision along the back of the ear. The total surgery will take
between 1 and 2 hours per ear.

Candidates for surgery should be of good health, have no scarring of the ears, and be able to follow post-surgical requirements (this is especially important for younger patients). Most candidates seek improvement of their appearance due to large or asymmetrical ears.

For more information see http://www.drgibby.com

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