A small portion of people have a genetic condition known as prominent ears. Individuals with this condition have ears that appear oversized and protrude unusually far from the head. This can cause the person to be a target for bullies and teasing. This condition develops around the age of 5 or 6, so adults with prominent ears have had to live with them for as long as they can remember. Adults often compensate by growing longer hair. Otoplasty is a procedure that can help improve the shape, size, proportion, and orientation of a patient’s ears so they appear normal.
Too Much Cartilage
Prominent ears are the result of too much cartilage in the wrong places. Ears that protrude too far from the head have too much cartilage behind them. Ears that are overly large usually have too much cartilage on the outer rim or large concavity. Otoplasty involves removing the right amount of cartilage in the right place to give the patient less prominent ears.
To reduce the ear protrusion, the otoplasty surgeon makes an incision behind the ear at the spot where the ear joins the head and pulls the skin back to access the cartilage. After removing the appropriate amount, the surgeon replaces the skin and sutures the ear back into place. The sutures are inside the ear and permanent to keep the ear pinned back in place.
To reduce the size or change the shape of the ear, the incision goes on the back of the ear. The surgeon removes the cartilage from the outer rim or concavity as needed, and then the skin is sutured.
Recovery from the procedure is minimal. Like any other surgery, patients will experience some pain, swelling, and discomfort for the first several days, which can be managed with pain medication and other post-surgery tips from the doctor. Any external sutures are usually removed after a couple days, after which patients will need to wear an athletic headband to protect their ears while they heal.
Since prominent ears develop around kindergarten or first grade age, otoplasty is one of the few plastic surgeries that can have children as patients. Surgeons can meet with the child to talk to them about the surgery, see how they feel about it, and determine whether they can handle the procedure. If you’re looking to spare your child from bullying or teasing about their ears as they grow up, it’s recommended that you consider otoplasty for them while they’re still young.
If you are an adult who suffers from prominent ears, this procedure can help you, too. An ideal patient should be someone who is healthy and has an overall positive outlook on their life, but would like to put a stop to the emotional issues that come from having large ears.
The Otoplasty Surgeon
Dr. Christopher Davidson received his training in plastic surgery from Harvard Medical School. He is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and practices at his own state-of-the-art facility. In addition to his practice, Dr. Davidson teaches plastic surgery techniques at Tufts University School of Medicine.
Your Otoplasty Consultation
If you or your child suffers from prominent ears and you would like to schedule an otoplasty consultation with Dr. Davidson, contact our office to make an appointment. You can reach us from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, by calling us at (781) 237-7700, or 24 hours a day through our Patient Contact page. During your consultation, Dr. Davidson will answer any of your questions about the procedure and address any concerns you might have. A better future is waiting for you or your child – contact us today to begin the process!