Otoplasty addresses prominent ears that are of normal shape as well as ears that have developed abnormally. Improved appearance can significantly improve self-esteem in patients who are self-conscious about the appearance of their ears.
Many patients undergo otoplasty to improve their overall appearance and rid themselves of anxiety over ears that prominently frame the face or ‘stick out’. Other patients will pursue surgery to correct deformities or issues with the shape of their ears.
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The decision to undergo otoplasty surgery is significant and adjustment to change in appearance needs be considered in addition to the process of post-operative recovery. This is why we begin the process with a private consultation with one of our experienced surgeons.
The aim of the consultation is to ascertain the patient’s (and in some cases, the patient’s parents) expectations. As the procedure is commonly considered in childhood it is important parents are made aware of any potential limitations in achieving those outcomes as well as any potential risks associated with the surgery.
Limitations include the shape of the cartilage structure and developmental abnormalities of the ear which may also need to be addressed. Otoplasty is best considered and performed in patients who are over the age of eight and can demonstrate the appropriate degree of maturity to comply with the aftercare process. Your surgeon will discuss these issues with you during your consultation.
It’s important your surgeon is made aware of any relevant medical history during your consultation. This includes tendency towards bleeding and bruising and any regular medications taken, as well as allergies and any psychological issues.
Your surgeon may deem it necessary to pursue further medical assessment, including blood tests, in order to fully determine your suitability for surgery. Your surgeon will advise you on which medications and activities will need to be stopped leading up to and following surgery.
It may be necessary to temporarily discontinue use of medications such as the oral contraceptive pill, aspirin, as well as certain herbal supplements such as fish oil. It is crucial to cease smoking six weeks prior to and following surgery and to discontinue use of any nicotine-containing products two weeks before and after surgery.
All operations carry risks and whilst they are uncommon, it’s important to be aware of them. Risks associated with otoplasty include problem scarring such as keloid or hypertrophic scar formation, wound complications including infection, wound breakdown or haematoma formation (bleeding) which may result in chondritis (inflammation of the ear cartilage) and subsequent deformity of the cartilage in addition to the risk of further surgery to address these potential complications.
Risks specific to otoplasty which improve over 18 months to two years include swelling and redness of the skin and numbness of ears. The specific risks which may require revisional surgery include asymmetry and recurrent or residual deformity. Revisional surgery is necessary in approximately five percent of patients who undergo otoplasty surgery.
There is a cost for an initial consultation at our Brisbane clinic, with the potential to receive a portion of this back via Medicare where eligible for rebate, provided you have a referral from your GP. You can call our Brisbane office on 07 3180 3400 to enquire about any out-of-pocket costs before your initial consultation as well. Part of your consultation will be devoted to a discussion about the costs of your surgery.
In accordance with the guidelines for advertising of regulated health services by the Australian Medical Board, we do not advertise set prices for our procedures on our website. For a personalised quote on the cost of your surgery, book an appointment via our website or call 07 3180 3400.
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Following monitoring in the recovery room, patients are discharged to the care of a responsible adult after 24 hours. You will be given pain medication and antibiotics and it is important that you take them to minimise discomfort and potential wound complications. Your head bandage will be left in place until review one week after surgery.
Easy access to medical attention via telephone is vital and your surgeon should be made aware of any complications, including high temperatures, excessive bleeding, pain that can’t be controlled with medication, redness of the ears or any major concerns related to your surgery.
To minimise post-operative bruising, we recommend elevation of the head be maintained with pillows for seven days. In general, swelling and bruising increase over the first three to five days and improve between five to 10 days. In some instances, it may take several months for the soft tissue swelling to subside completely. During this period the sensation of the ears may be affected but will return to normal over a few months.
Resumptions of physical activity such as walking for exercise can commence two weeks after surgery, progressing to running at six weeks and normal exercise including swimming at eight weeks. It is important to avoid ear trauma from being knocked or hit accidentally for six weeks after surgery. Return to school or work can be anticipated after two to three weeks.
The final result of otoplasty surgery may not appreciated for many months. The scars may be prominent for up to 18 months after surgery and can be unpredictable, being prone to problem scarring such as hypertrophic and keloid scar formation. Instructions on swelling and scar management strategies such as massage, taping and silicone gel sheeting will be provided during post-operative consultations. The aim of such strategies are to efficiently optimise the resolution of soft tissue swelling and thickness of scarring to achieve the best possible result.
As we respect the privacy and discretion of our patients, we do not provide any before and after imagery on our website. Your surgeon will provide you with before and after photos during your consultation, which have been approved by previous patients.