Otoplasty is the medical term for the aesthetic correction of the outer ear. Many adults have painful memories of being made fun of as a child because of certain unusual features of their ears. When a child’s general growth reaches a certain point, usually between the ages of four and six years (most surgeries on children are performed between the ages of four and fourteen), they become candidates for an Otoplasty if needed. The most obvious benefit to having an Otoplasty performed on a child at such a young age is that he or she will then be able to avoid the emotional trauma of being made fun of because of their ears. Adults of any age can become candidates for this procedure.
Candidates for this procedure often seek the help of a surgeon because they possess one or more of the following features:
• Over-sized ears
• Protruding ears
• Lopped ears, where the top edge of the ear folds down and forward unnaturally
• Cupped, or very small ears
• Shell ears, or ears that completely lack normal, natural folds and creases
• Large ear lobes
• Stretched ear lobes
• Earlobes that possess large creases or wrinkles
• Patients who were born without ears
• Patients who lost ears due to accident or injury
BEFORE AND DURING THE SURGERY
Only a qualified cosmetic surgeon can determine if a neck lift is right for you. Face lift surgery is a highly individualized procedure and should only be done for personal reasons. Generally, neck lift surgery is a good option for you if:
• You are generally healthy
• You are a non-smoker
• You have a positive outlook on life
• You have realistic goals for the procedure
Your surgeon will want to meet with you prior to scheduling a procedure to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for a face lift. The following points cover some of the information your surgeon will want to know:
• Why do you want to the procedure?
• What is your desired outcome?
• Do you have any current medical conditions or drug allergies?
• Are you being treated for any other medical conditions?
• Have you undergone any previous surgeries?
• What medications, vitamins, herbal and other supplements, and drugs are you currently using?
• Do you use alcohol and tobacco?
This is not all. Your surgeon will want to complete a physical evaluation to determine your current level of physical health. The information he or she will gather could include:
• Any risk factors you are experiencing, along with any pre-existing conditions
• Photographs that will be included in your medical record, and to aid in determining the extent of improvement
• Treatment options and recommendations
• Discussing possible outcomes of the procedure
• The use of anesthesia during the procedure
BEFORE AND AFTER
YOUR SURGEON MAY ALSO INSTITUTE:
• Dietary guidelines or restrictions
• Alcohol consumption guidelines or restrictions
• Avoiding certain vitamin supplements
INSTRUCTIONS YOU WILL RECEIVE MAY INCLUDE:
• What to do on the day of the surgery
• Using anesthesia during your procedure
• Any post-op care and treatments
BEFORE THE DAY OF THE SURGERY, YOU WILL BE ADVISED OR REQUIRED TO:
• Complete routine blood tests to determine overall physical health
• Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, or herbal supplements that increase bleeding
After anesthesia is administered, the surgeon begins by making a small incision at the back of the ears. This incision allows the surgeon to expose the cartilage that gives the ear its shape, and the he or she can mold it to the desired shape. The ear is also bent backwards towards the head by making a fold in the cartilage. The surgeon then uses non-removable stitches to keep the ear in its desired location. The surgeon may remove a piece of cartilage so the ear will fold properly and naturally.
Another technique is very similar, but instead of removing cartilage from the ear, stitches are used to fold the cartilage back to create the desired crease.
In either situation, scarring is minimal and fades with time.
AFTER THE PROCEDURE IS COMPLETE
Patients of all ages are usually up and walking around a few hours after the surgery. Their head will be wrapped in bulky bandages to allow the ears to heal in the best way. The ears may throb and be painful for a few days after surgery, but this is usually relieved by various medications. The bulky bandages are replaced in a few days with lighter dressings that are similar to headbands. As always, following your surgeon’s directions after the surgery greatly enhances the likelihood of an ideal outcome.
Stitches are usually removed or dissolve in about a week. Any activities involving the ears should be avoided for about a month. Adults may return to work five days after surgery. Children may return to school after a week or so, and must be careful on the playground.
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual or irregular heartbeats, seek immediate medical attention. You may be hospitalized if any of these serious medical conditions occur.
The practice of medicine is not an exact science. Good results are always expected, but not guaranteed. Some situations may require multiple surgeries in order to achieve the best results. A similar procedure (like a breast lift, tummy tuck, or liposuction) may also be required.
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