The ear, or auricle, may suffer from various congenital deformities which may lead to the development of abnormal shapes or positioning. These can cause aesthetic distress for the patient and even lead to bullying at school during childhood.
Otoplasty is the corrective surgery for ear deformities and each of these has a specific treatment. We provide a brief account of some of the most common deformities:
- Prominent ears: also known as protruding or sticking out ears. This is a deficiency in one of the folds of the ear (antihelix) which makes it look flatter and further away from the head.
- Macrotia: very large ears which are disproportionate in size to the patient’s head.
- Microtia: very small ears or partial absence of the ear. Requires cartilage reconstruction with rib cartilage and a skin graft from the cervical area.
- Cup ears: Excessive curvature of the top third of the ear.
- Stahl’s ear: Pointed shape of the top part of the ear, which resembles the ear of an elf.
Any patient that presents with a deformity in the shape or position of the auricle which causes them distress and which they want to resolve, having realistic expectations of the results.
Surgery can take place under local or general anaesthetic depending on the age of the patient and the pathology to be resolved.
- Prominent or sticking out ear: This is approached from the back of the ear (thereby concealing the scar. Incisions to release the cartilage are made in some areas to weaken it so that it bends more easily, and this is followed by creating various suture points to help bend the ear and bring it closer to the head.
- Macrotia: Usually requires the removal of a piece of tissue to make the ear smaller. The scars are barely visible.
This type of intervention should be performed by a plastic surgeon with experience in facial surgery, both in children and adults.
This type of intervention should be performed in a medical centre that is approved for outpatient surgery or in a hospital that complies with all the healthcare requirements.
Dr Ospina is fully aware of this and therefore performs all his surgery in the operating theatres of the San Roque Hospitals, as this provides that extra safety that he wants for his patients.
After surgery, the patient should carry out some basic care at home, such as cleaning the wounds and using various creams. For the first week, they should sleep on their back with the head of the bed raised. The application of ice to the area will help to quickly reduce the inflammation.
A head bandage should be used to protect and hold the ears to the head for some weeks, initially both during the day and at night for some weeks to protect the ears while sleeping.
It will only take some 7 days to be able to return to normal life, by which time the inflammation and the haematomas will have disappeared. Taking part in sports should be done gradually after the third week.
These can be seen right from the start, but they will improve as the inflammation is reduced and the small haematomas disappear from the skin.
Although rare, they are usually due to prolonged inflammation or changes in how the skin feels. But they tend to resolve after a few weeks.
“I always tell my patients that the objective of otoplasty is to create normal ears that go unnoticed”