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Otoplasty refers to plastic surgery procedures dealing with conditions of the ear. The ear is a structure of intricate anatomy consisting of multiple convexities and concavities including the helix, concha, tragus, and lobule amongst others. It also plays a major role in the conduction of sound for the middle and inner ear.

Who would benefit from an otoplasty?

From congenital to acquired conditions, plastic surgeons are adept at utilizing skin, cartilage, and blood supply to restore normalcy and symmetry to the ears. The commonly described deformity would be prominent or ‘bat’ ears. These result from an underdevelopment of the ear cartilage, primarily the antihelix and scapha, and lead to protrusion of the rim of the ears.

How is an otoplasty performed?

Whilst mild cases can be hidden by different hairstyles, more prominent ears can be permanently corrected through otoplasty. This surgery can be performed under local anaesthesia, and involves skin incisions hidden behind the ear, manipulation of the underlying ear cartilage and sutures to correct the deformities.

What can I expect after my otoplasty procedure?

In terms of recovery, most otoplasty procedures are done as day surgery, and dressings are removed by the end of the first week. You may be asked to wear a head band to help with protecting and shaping the altered ear cartilage as it heals. Any swelling can take up to 2 to 3 months to fully settle.

What are the potential risks and complications?

Hematoma and infection, though uncommon, are possible complications and can be either managed conservatively with antibiotics or may necessitate a repeat procedure. The goal at the first procedure is always symmetry but there may be minor asymmetries present after the swelling settles, which a smaller operation can help to correct.

Ordon A, Wolfswinkel E, Shauly O, Gould DJ. Aesthetic Otoplasty: Principles, Techniques and an Integrated Approach to Patient-Centric Outcomes. Aesthet Plast Surg. 2019;43(5):1214–25.

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