What does ear correction (otoplasty) involve?
- Ear correction is usually performed under local anesthesia.
- A general anaesthetic is likely if the procedure does not seem suitable under local anaesthetic and is only performed with the consent of the patient and the surgeon.
- The incision is made behind the auricles; the skin and the internal cartilage are loosened.
- If necessary, the cartilage is shaped, softened and then fixed in the desired place with absorbable sutures.
- The skin is sewn together and an oily tamponade is applied to relax the auricle.
- The ear correction is connected with the application of a head bandage.
- The patient can leave the practice/hospital on the same day or, if the operation was performed under general anesthesia, on the following day.
Preparation for ear correction Surgery
1. One week before the planned operation, the patient must determine the laboratory values and have internal preoperative examinations performed which are relevant for the operation.
2. The patient must not take any medication containing acetylsalicylic acid such as Alnagon, Acylpyrin, Aspirin, Anopyrin and Mironal for at least 3 weeks before the operation as these affect blood clotting.
3. The patient should be healthy and fit and not suffer from acute illnesses such as colds or viral infections.
4. Smokers should give up smoking for a certain period of time as smoking significantly delays the healing process.
5. The patient must appear sober for the operation, i.e. not eat, drink or smoke for at least 8 hours before the operation.
What is the recovery process after an ear correction surgery?
- After the operation, the patient must stay at home for 7-10 days and take antibiotics and medication to reduce swelling.
- The pain may persist for the first two days, especially in adult patients.
- The patient must sleep with his/her head upright, which will reduce the pain in the auricles.
- About 7-10 days after the operation, the patients can have the bandages removed at the clinic/practice and wash their hair again.
- In the following week it is important to wear a cloth or a hair band to keep the ears in position.
- The auricles may be less sensitive for a few weeks after the operation, so they must be protected from the cold, especially in winter.
- Physical exercises and sports are possible 4-5 weeks after the operation.
- Stabilization of scars after surgery generally takes at least 3 months.
Minimally invasive methods for protruding ears
Stitch method (suture method) of the otoplasty
This method is the first minimally invasive procedure for placing protruding ears. It has been called the "stitch" method because the fixing elements that hold the ears in place are threads that must always be permanent (non-absorbable). Scars, as they occur with traditional methods, do not and are not necessary with the thread method.
With this method, all ears, regardless of the hardness of the cartilage, can also be successfully created with a large, deep Cavum Conchae. Since the entire cartilage is neither processed nor scratched, the suture method does not involve any of the usual risks.
Otoplasty without incisions
Ear correction without incisions is a great method for reshaping protruding ears. It is not the method of choice for all patients, but I tend to use it in the majority of patients, with excellent and long-lasting results. In the past, earmoulds were divided into cartilage cutting or scratching techniques and shaping techniques. The latter involves the placement of permanent sutures to model the ear cartilage in the desired shape and the attachment of the ear to the skull.
The cutless technique follows this principle, but instead of making incisions or cutting out skin, the threads are placed behind the ear through the skin and hidden underneath. This allows the ear cartilage to be beautifully re-contoured without the scars and risks associated with them. However, some ears require a stronger reshaping, for which an open surgical technique can be advantageous. In many cases, I can combine the cutless procedure with a small incision in areas that are not accessible to this technique.