The correction of protruding ears known as “otoplasty”, corrects anomalies in the cartilage of the outer ear that are responsible for its “protruding” appearance.
Three types of anomalies may be encountered:
- Absence of folds the normal folds in the cartilage (absence of folds in the anthelix, the fold of cartilage just inside the outer rim of the external ear).
- Too wide an angle between the pinna and the cranium (helix valgus).
- Excessive amount of cartilage, projecting the ear forwards (hypertrophy of the concha, the hollow next to the ear canal).
Otoplasty is designed to correct these anomalies by remodelling the cartilage so as to obtain ears that are
“flat”, symmetrical and of natural size and appearance.
Otoplasty may be performed on patients from the age of seven, when a child complains that his/her ears are too prominent and is upset by it.
These problems with the appearance can in certain cases be covered by National Insurance.
The otoplasty operation
- Local anaesthesia often with sedation or general anaesthetic for children.
- Time taken for the otoplasty operation: about one hour.
- Incisions in the skin in the natural groove behind the ear and in certain cases, at the rear of the pinna (hidden in the natural folds).
- Surgery to the cartilage: several types of procedure are possible for correcting anomalies of the cartilage: striations, incisions, resections, attachment with sutures.
- Sutures are performed using absorbable thread which should not be removed.
- An elastic dressing is applied by means of a band around the head.
- Day surgery.
- Post-operatively, otoplasty is generally fairly painless in general and only requires simple pain-killers.
- The first dressing is replaced after a few days, being exchanged for a lighter dressing changed once or twice a week for 10 à 15 days (at this stage, the ears will be very swollen due to oedema and ecchymosis). Afterwards a compression band of the tennis headband type must be worn at night for one month.
- During this period, all sporting activity must be avoided.
- It will take 2 to 3 months to get an idea of the final result.
- Healing will last for one to two years.
- Any sequels or complications from otoplasty will be explained to you during the consultation and in the literature supplied.