What is Otoplasty?
Otoplasty, commonly known as prominent ear surgery or cosmetic ear surgery. It is one of the most common procedures in cosmetic and corrective surgery.
Ear deformity in terms of its separation from the head is the most common inherited anomaly among numerous deformities on the outer part of the ear.
Prominent or asymmetrical ears are difficult to hide and represent an aesthetic problem that can become a source of deep dissatisfaction in not only children and teenagers but also in adults.
Otoplasty is most common during childhood. However, people of all ages can undergo this surgical procedure.
The growth and development of the auricle end around the 5th year of life, after which it is possible to surgically correct the auricle.
The goal of the operation is to decrease the ears’ prominence, get the natural shape of the ear, and remove the psychological burden of the patient.
Ear surgery or otoplasty is an aesthetic procedure that:
- changes the size of the ear
- changes the position of the ear
- corrects the shape of the ear
- changes the proportion of the ears
Am I a good candidate?
Otoplasty can be done when the ears reach their full size, most often after the age of 5. This operation is recommended if;
- The eardrums protrude significantly outside the surface of the head
- The eardrums are larger than the size of the head
- Or, if you are unhappy with the result of a previous operation.
You might be a good candidate for Otoplasty if you:
- suffer from low self-esteem due to prominent ears
- Experience emotional stress and taunting due to the appearance of your ears
- Are at least 5 years old
- Are in good overall health
Benefits of Otoplasty
Ears are typically not the major focal point of one’s face. However, if they visibly protrude it can leave some people feeling self-conscious or unhappy about their looks.
An ear correction can help you not only change the look of your ears but also your overall appearance, which will definitely affect your self-confidence. That self-confidence has no price and is something that patients who have undergone this operation understand.
You can expect:
- Proportional and contoured outer ear.
- Permanent results
- An increase in self-confidence
- A feeling of satisfaction and relief for solving this aesthetic problem that has always been a concern for you.
About Ear Surgery
Although surgeons often choose to perform an Otoplasty under local anaesthesia general anaesthesia is also an option.
Since every patient is different, the surgical technique varies depending on the type of correction. The specific technique your surgeon chooses will determine the location of the incisions and scars.
After making incisions surgeon can remove excess cartilage and skin from the ears. Then they will fold the cartilage into the appropriate position. Your surgeon will then close the incisions with sutures.
By carefully reshaping the cartilage and contouring the basic elements of the ear, the surgeon can achieve the shape and natural symmetry the patient wants.
Due to their location scars often remain completely hidden in the natural crease behind the ear. Moreover, after the recovery period, they are often completely invisible.
The procedure usually takes from 1-2 hours, depending on the technique, patient, and the complexity of the procedure.
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If you’d like more information about a particular surgery, please call our surgical support team on 1300 264 811 between 9 am – 5 pm on weekdays.
Recovery after Otoplasty
Recovery from Otoplasty ear pinning surgery is typically very quick, and most patients will not require any time off work unless they are experiencing discomfort or pain.
After the surgery, the surgeon will cover your ears with protective bandages to protect the incision area. You will wear the bandage for 24-48 hours.
Once the removal of the bandage occurs you will need to wear an elastic band to protect your ears from trauma for the next 5-7 days.
Surgeons will often use dissolvable stitches, when suitable. These dissolve within 7-10 days.
Three to four weeks after surgery, an elastic band is worn at night. This is to prevent unintentional ear injuries during sleep.
During the first couple of days of recovery, you might experience some swelling, bruising, itching, and mild discomfort. Your doctor will provide you with painkillers which usually help most patients manage pain easily.
Your surgeon will also give you extensive post-operative instructions. Following these instructions is the best way to achieve optimal results, speed up recovery, and avoid complications.
Patients should avoid demanding physical activities and contact sports for at least a month post-surgery.
Most patients go back to their regular activities (school, work) in the week following surgery.
It is important to remember that all surgical procedures leave scars, even scarless methods.
Experienced plastic surgeons are extremely careful about scar placement and minimisation, with surgical scars generally fading over time with most scars being barely visible after 12 months.
We will arrange weekly post-op appointments with our specialist nursing team after your procedure to ensure everything is healing well and to monitor your progress.
You will see your surgeon and/or nurse and/or dermal team about six to eight weeks later for a scar consultation and organise scar minimisation treatments.
The Coco Ruby dermal team conducts a series of follow-up scar treatments using a customised selection of Skin Needling, Healite II LED and massaging with oils, Fraxel Laser, V-Laser, Silicone strips & gels and Steroids can also help minimise scars. Ask the Coco Ruby Team!
Note – The length of your recovery period will depend on your procedure and your health and lifestyle factors. Recovery times can vary from person to person.
Please avoid subjecting your incision to abrasion or excessive stresses during the recovery period.
How noticeable are the scars after Otoplasty?
- Your surgeon makes the incisions in the natural crease where the ears connect to the skull. So, scarring is usually unnoticeable.
- Scarring after Otoplasty reduces over several weeks as it heals, and are typically minimal to nearly invisible for many patients.
Is it possible to perform Otoplasty on only one ear?
- Yes, if only one ear is protruding the surgeon can perform the surgery only on one ear to achieve balance.
Will Otoplasty improve my hearing?
- No, otoplasty is a solely cosmetic surgery procedure and does not affect ear function.
Can Otoplasty be revised?
- Yes, if you are unhappy with the results of your Otoplasty, revision is possible after complete recovery from the first surgery.
Can Otoplasty be combined with other surgical procedures?
- Yes, it can and it regularly is
Can Otoplasty change the size of my ears?
- Yes, otoplasty can alter the shape, size, and protrusion of your ears.
Is Otoplasty covered by Medicare?
- Ear Pinning is cosmetic in nature, therefore medicare will not cover Otoplasty Surgery.
Ear Surgery Surgery Cost
Every patient is different, therefore the prices vary. You will be given a price quote after your first consultation.
Your Otoplasty Surgery quote will include your surgeon’s fee, anesthetist’s fee, perhaps a surgical assistant fee, and the hospital fees.
Funding Ear Surgery –Medicare, Payment Plans and Super
Some Ear Surgery procedures may be eligible for Medicare.
Purely cosmetic Otoplasty procedures are usually NOT covered by Medicare or private health insurance so you must fund the cost of the surgery yourself.
Many patients ask about payment options and medical finance – You can learn more about payment options for funding your Otoplasty procedure on our Funding Surgery page here.
Your super fund may also be able to help pay for your procedure in certain circumstances – visit the Super for Surgery page to find out about the early release of super on compassionate grounds.
Complications and Risks of Ear Surgery
Like all other types of surgery, otoplasty comes with the risk of bleeding, infection, and bad reactions to anaesthesia.
Typically, for healthy candidates who follow pre-surgery and post-op instructions, risks are minimal.
Some of the most common risks and complications are:
- Scars (scars are permanent but usually successfully hidden inside the natural crest)
- Ear asymmetry
- Changes in skin sensation
- Unnatural look
Further reading – Medical references on Ear Surgery
Your Surgical Journey
After you choose the right surgeon, you will attend consultations to talk more about your wishes, expectations, and medical history.
Medical examinations will be performed, in order for the surgeon to determine which operative technique is the best for you.
Your doctor will explain possible complications, inform you about preoperative preparation, what tests and laboratory findings are needed, what to avoid before surgery, and how to behave after surgery.
Otoplasty is a procedure in which the surgeon removes excess skin behind the ear to reach the cartilage. The cartilage will be precisely reshaped, in order to achieve a desirable contour, natural symmetry, and shape.
Postoperatively, you will report for regular check-ups in agreement with your surgeon.
Your surgeon will compare and analyze the results of the surgery. The results of otoplasty are permanent. You will have to follow post-surgery instructions carefully to improve the results and reduce the recovery time.
Why Choose Dr Briggs?
Our leading specialist Plastic Surgeon performs Otoplasty procedures or ‘ear pinning surgery’ for adults over the age of 18. However, they do not offer earlobe repairs for perforated earlobes.
Our Melbourne based, fully-qualified Plastic Surgeon primarily operates at accredited major hospitals in Melbourne. They use only experienced anaesthetists and a top team of surgical support staff.
We are an Australia wide Specialist Plastic Surgeons Group, with the appropriate
qualifications and members of recognized associations.
Look for members of FRCS, ASPS, ASAPS, or ISAPS as some of the Qualifications of your Plastic Surgeon.
Otoplasty is a highly specialised field, so the choice of the right surgeon with Otoplasty expertise can deeply impact the results you are looking for.
Dr Patrick Briggs
Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in Melbourne
Dr Patrick Briggs is a Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon. Both he and his team are dedicated to excellence in patient care and are committed to treating each and every patient with respect and privacy.
Not only does he offer high-quality results he also offers natural-looking plastic and cosmetic surgery results. Furthermore, he is experienced in Breast, Body and Face Surgery having performed over 4500 Surgeries in private practice.
How can we help?
Dr Briggs’ Patient Coordinators take pleasure in assisting you with any questions when considering a plastic surgery procedure. Please call the Hawthorn East clinic in Melbourne between 8 am – 6 pm on Weekdays.
Want more information about your Procedure?
What to Bring to Your Consultation
- If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
- Take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents your surgeon provides.
- You may need to undress so it’s a good idea to wear simple clothes.