Ear surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis and takes about 2 to 3 hours to complete. In rare cases of a more complicated surgery, it may be performed in a hospital and a brief hospital stay will be required.
In most cases, children undergoing ear surgery will be given a general anesthetic so that they will be completely asleep during the procedure. Adults having ear surgery will usually only requires a local anesthetic for the procedure. Some women and men take the opportunity to have other facial sculpting procedures performed along with ear surgery, such as nose surgery or an eyelid lift.
Ear surgery is performed as follows:
- Incisions are made and a small portion of skin, sometimes with underlying fat, is removed.
- The cartilage is either sculpted or folded back on itself to bring the ear into its correct position and supported with sutures.
- Sutures close the incisions, leaving a faint scar that will fade with time.
Even when only 1 ear appears to protrude, surgery is usually performed on both ears for a better balance.
Following ear surgery, most patients are up and around in just a couple of hours. There may be some discomfort and soreness around the ears, which is normal. Your plastic surgeon can prescribe medications that will help ease this discomfort.
For the first few days after ear surgery, the patient's head may be wrapped in a bandage that will help protect the surgical area and help keep the repositioning of the ear in place for the initial healing process. After a few days these bandages will be removed and replaced by a lightweight band type of bandage. Any stitches that were placed during the surgery will usually be taken out within a week or so.
Returning to school and work will be possible about a week after ear surgery. It's important to avoid any activities that might cause the ears to be bent, such as sports or wearing headwear, for about a month. Patients will be scheduled for follow-up visits to monitor the healing process following ear surgery.
Potential Risks or Complications
Complications following ear surgery are usually minor. In rare cases, a blood clot might form in the area of the surgical incision. Usually this will correct itself, or it can be corrected easily by your plastic surgeon. In other rare cases, some patients might develop a slight infection in the cartilage that can be treated with a medication prescribed by your Albany plastic surgeon. Overall, ear surgery is a relatively risk-free procedure that yields great physical and emotional results for the patient.