An otoplasty, commonly referred to as ear pinning, is a surgical procedure to improve the appearance of the ears. There may be features of your ears you dislike such as their prominence or how far they stick out from your head. In some cases, folds are underdeveloped or absent and need to be created. For other patients, the concha (bowl-shaped portion of the lower ear) is overdeveloped and must be reduced. Dr. Barlow strives to provide a natural-looking result while effectively improving your function and appearance.
During your personalized consultation, Dr. Barlow will discuss your ear concerns with you. Together, you will formulate a surgical plan. A combination of tissue removal and tissue modification is frequently required. In nearly all cases, the surgical incision is well hidden behind the ear. Photographs will be taken as they facilitate the surgical planning of your procedure. Of course, you will have ample time to have your questions answered.
During your second consultation, any questions you may still have will be answered and your plan reviewed. Your post-operative course will be emphasized as you are prepared for surgery. For nearly all otoplasty patients, you will be required to wear a post-surgical garment to help keep your ears tucked in close to your head and to offer them protection.
The next office visit will be your pre-operative appointment. This will occur approximately two weeks prior to your surgery. Your current health status will be reviewed, Dr. Barlow will complete a pre-operative physical examination and you will receive prescriptions. You will also have the risk, benefits and alternatives to your surgery explained to you. Your post-operative appointment schedule will be given to you at the time of your pre-operative visit. You will then register at the hospital.
Surgery is performed as a day procedure at CHRISTUS St. John Hospital under general anesthesia. An otoplasty can take up to three hours to complete. You will awaken with a dressing and the support garment over your ears. Following the procedure, will be taken to the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit to begin the recovery process. After continuing to recover in the Outpatient Surgery Unit, you will be discharged home. You will need to have a responsible individual drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours following surgery.
Although all surgical procedures have discomfort, most patients find that this procedure is very well tolerated. You will be provided with a prescription for pain medication for your comfort. Your first visit is usually one week following your surgery. Sutures may be removed during this visit. You will be seen weekly for the first month, biweekly for the next month and then at four and six months. After that, you will be seen each year for an annual review of your condition.
A variable amount of bruising and swelling can be expected. Bruises may take a few days to appear. Swelling typically improves daily but will likely be noticeable to you for several weeks. Numbness around the incisions is also common and may take months to resolve. As with all invasive procedures, your scars will take time to fade. Scars are not typically considered fully mature for over a year.
You will be restricted from exercising for a month following your surgery. This will allow your body time to recover from the surgery and avoid any unnecessarily prolonged swelling. During the early recovery period, increased activity will often lead to increased swelling.
Dr. Barlow looks forward to meeting with you and discussing your options. Call or e-mail today to schedule your appointment!