Right-Sizing Your Ears with a Quick-and-Easy Otoplasty

Childhood can be tough. But if you have a physical trait that looks different than the norm, merciless teasing and ridiculing can follow. One of the characteristics kids tend to focus on is misshapen ears, which can add to a victim’s poor self-image, which in turn can lead to mental disorders.  

And, it doesn’t just happen to children. Adults with large or protruding ears can also experience low self-esteem, avoidance, and depression because of their ears.

At his plastic and cosmetic surgical practice in Rockville, Maryland, and McLean, Virginia, Frederick H. Watkins, MD, gives patients of all ages a fresh start with life-changing ear plastic surgery, also known as otoplasty. Dr. Watkins skillfully and artistically makes key adjustments that look natural and attractive. 

Otoplasty 101

Simply put, otoplasty is surgery to change the structure of your ears. Whether you were born with differently shaped or sized ears, or an injury caused a deformity, otoplasty can correct many issues, including ears that are:

Otoplasty is not intended to correct hearing problems, but rather it’s a cosmetic procedure that changes the appearance of your ears.

Making sure you’re a good candidate for otoplasty

Like any surgical procedure, otoplasty is only recommended for people who are in good general health. Beyond that, there are some specific requirements to consider before deciding to get your ears surgically reshaped. 

You should be a nonsmoker, as smoking slows the rate of wound healing, puts you at greater risk for infection, and leads to more pronounced scar tissue. So if you’re a smoker, you should quit at least around the time of the surgery.

You should also make sure you have realistic expectations for your otoplasty. Whether the procedure is for you or your child, the advice is the same. Otoplasty can fix your ears, but it won’t make children instantly popular or get you a job promotion. The change in your self-image, on the other hand, may indeed lead to a more positive outlook and an inner change that others respond to.

Not all children are good candidates for otoplasty, but those who are, are generally:

If otoplasty turns out to be the right decision for you or your child, Dr. Watkins will guide you through the next steps so you’re fully prepared.

The otoplasty procedure

Many procedures can be completed using only a local anesthetic. However, general anesthesia can be considered if desired. For most children, general anesthesia may be necessary to keep them calm and still.

The exact details of your otoplasty will depend on what’s being fixed, but generally speaking, Dr. Watkins will make a small incision on the back side of your ear to access the cartilage. If it’s necessary to make an incision on the front of your ear, he’ll do this discreetly in the natural folds and creases to hide any scarring.

Your surgery will likely take 1-2 hours, and you’ll be able to go home as soon as you come out of anesthesia. You should make sure you have a ride home, as you may be a bit groggy.

Postoperative expectations

Results from your otoplasty will be apparent immediately. Except for the supportive dressing, you should see your new ears in the mirror on the first day.

Naturally, you can also expect some mild bruising and tenderness as the incisions heal. You should also take it easy for a few days at home. Kids should plan to take a week off school to allow time for the inflammation and discoloration to subside.

Now that you know a little more about otoplasty, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Watkins to discuss all your questions and find out if ear surgery is right for you or your child. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with the practice of Frederick H. Watkins, MD, today.

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