Know All About Ear Surgery

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How To Correct Protruding Or Bat Ears?

If you suffer from ear deformities such as protruding or prominent ears, large ear lobes, and non-symmetrical ears, and are in general, dissatisfied with the appearance of your ears, you might have to fall back on surgery to correct the same. 

Microtia is the medical term for small ear deformity and can be present in one or both ears. While it has no effect on the individual’s hearing abilities, it can cause a heightened self conscious and lowered self-esteem. Individuals may also be suffering from Anotia, or a missing ear deformity. This can lead to severe self-esteem issues as well as behavioral and emotional health issues.


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Ear Surgery can cure ear deformities and reshape protruding or large ears for you.

What Is Ear Surgery?

Ear surgery, commonly referred to as otoplasty, is performed to reshape the ear. This can be done for aesthetic purposes or to correct genetic defects. It can help patients whose ears stick away from the forehead or are too close. For people with birth defects or serious trauma that has resulted in damage to the ears, this surgery is ideal.

Alternate names for Ear surgery include Ear Tuck, Ear Pinning and Otoplasty.


Who Are The Ideal Candidates For Ear Surgery?

People who want to improve the external appearance of their ears.

Children aged more than 5 years, and adults.

People in general good health.

Patients with no history of scarring problems (like keloids).

A person who is experiencing partial or full hearing disability.

Persons having chronic inflammation in the ear should get that cured before undergoing ear surgery.

People relying on hearing aids but who want to get rid of the aid through surgery. However, they should be in general good health to undergo surgery.


What Are The Different Types Of Ear Surgery?

Ear surgery can be of many kinds, depending upon the damaged part of the ear. 

If you develop a hole in the eardrum, tympanoplasty is the way to go. An incision is made at the back of the ear, a skin graft is placed under the drum and incision is closed with sutures. 
Mastoid Tympanoplasty is performed for ear drum with chronic infection in the mastoid bone. 
Ossiculoplasty is the technique for repairing or repositioning the ear bones using plastic prosthesis. 
Stapedectomy is another surgical procedure for middle ear, aimed at removing fixated stapes bone and replacing it with a micro prosthesis. This results in improved hearing. 
Cochlear implant (CI) is an electronic device implanted in the inner part of the ear to give a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf. The difference between hearing aids and CI is that unlike the former, the latter uses damaged hair cells in the inner ear to send signals to the brain. 

Otoplasty is a cosmetic procedure aimed at changing the size of a person's ears. Otoplasty can also be incisionless these days. This involves less recovery time and lesser discomfort during the surgery. However, mostly a combination of both traditional and incisionless techniques is used. There are 3 different kinds of otoplasties.

Ear reduction -  This cosmetic ear surgery is performed to reduce the size of the ears, in the case when they are excessively big or protruding. Generally, the condition is known as macrotia. The surgery can either be performed by removing a cartilage from behind the ear or by removing excess skin. In both cases, sutures are involved.

Ear augmentation - This is also known as microtia treatment. In this case, a person has absent or underdeveloped ear pinna. The surgeon uses cartilage from the ribcage or the other ear and moulds it into an extension for the smaller ear. 

Ear pinning/pinback - This is one of the most common cosmetic surgeries used to change the ear angle to balance the structure of the face of the patient. It involves incisions behind the ear and folding the skin to bring the ear closer to the head.


What To Do Before Ear Surgery Procedure?

  • There should not be any existing infection in the ear as it could interfere with the surgical procedure. Surgical tools interacting with the infection site may aggravate the infection further.

  • Ear should be properly cleaned before the procedure using antiseptic solutions.

  • Patient should quit any arduous activities like hard exercises before surgery to prevent further damage.

  • Abstain from smoking before surgery as this might lead to deficiency of oxygen rich blood to the wounds and increase recovery time after the surgery.


What Is The Post-Operative Care For A Ear Surgery Procedure

  • For the first week after the surgery, the ear is expected to drain a thick, dark substance along with blood, sometimes. It should be gently cleaned with peroxide solution.

  • Water should not be allowed to enter the ear as an after care measure. Water logging in the ear could lead to infection. A cotton ball can be placed in the ear for this.

  • Any incision site behind or slightly inside the ear should be cleaned regularly, followed by application of ointment.

  • Swimming, sports or any other strenuous activities are highly discouraged during the stages of healing without the doctor’s consent.

  • For at least two weeks during the recovery stage, try not to blow your nose. Prefer sneezing or coughing with your mouth open to prevent harm to your ear.

  • Follow up care also includes hearing tests, to be conducted weekly or monthly as required by the surgeon, to keep a check on the recovery of the ear. 


What Is The Diet For Ear Surgery Procedure?

Ear surgery is generally conducted under the effect of general anesthesia. This may lead to dizziness, nausea or vomiting in some patients. So, only light diet should be given to the patients following the surgery.

A day after the surgery, regular diet can be resumed and it should contain vitamin and iron rich foods to cover for any blood loss during the surgery.

Usually patients have difficulty in fully opening the mouth for a few days, so more liquids can be added to the diet.


What Are The Realistic Expectations From An Ear Surgery Procedure?

  • Ear surgeries are considered best for patients who have realistic expectations of the procedure.

  • For the first few weeks, there may be swelling and slight difficulty with hearing. This ultimately changes with time. 

  • People who wish to obtain the procedure also need to know that great care will have to be taken in the months following the procedure.

  • In most instances, visible changes are noticed almost instantly, especially in conditions with protruding ears. 

  • Extensive ear surgeries, produce results in stages, and full recovery is expected after a few months.

  • The result of this cosmetic surgery, in case of both ear augmentation and reduction last for a lifetime.


What Are The Pros And Cons Of Ear Surgery?

  • Pros

  • Cons

  • The surgery can treat different types of ear problems such as large ears (macrotia), bat ears, difference between the two ear pinnas, etc.

  • Result of an otoplasty surgery are long lasting with minimal complications.

  • Ear surgery boosts the morale of a person and benefits him by increasing his confidence in social situations.

  • Ear surgery can be used to treat the ear and restore original shape after a patient has undergone a trauma such as dog bite or cancer.

  • The treatment consumes very less time and is usually complete within 1-2 hours.

  • Children who undergo the procedure are likely to have trouble dealing with the aftercare and recovery as bleeding, dehydration are very common. 

  • Scarring is one of the complications that may arise once the surgery has been performed and it takes some time for the scar to fade away.

  • Infections may arise due to the surgery and prevent the person from smoking or consuming alcohol.

  • The patient may experience sensitivity of the skin around the ears for a while.


Who Should Avoid Ungergoing Ear Surgery?

  1. Patients with genetic ear defects, overly prominent ears, or scars on their ears make ideal candidates for otoplasties.

  2. Pregnant patients are always advised against invasive surgeries that require anaesthesia. It is better to opt for corrective procedures after delivery. 

  3. It is also recommended that patients taking life long therapy for cardiac and diabetic conditions, seek medical advice before going for such procedures.

  4. While no major risks are noted, all patients differ in their biophysical parameters. A combined profile of age, along with other laboratory tests, conclude whether a person makes an ideal candidate for such a surgical procedure.


What Are The Alternatives To Ear Surgery?

An ear surgery or otoplasty aims at correcting the shape, size and placement of ears, thereby providing a solution to ear deformities. It can also help in correcting ear defects present at birth.

While there are not many alternatives available to an otoplasty, recent developments and research have come up with a few other viable options. 

The Stitch Method is a minimally invasive procedure to pin back protruding ears, and involves the usage of non-absorbable permanent stitches to maintain the new position of the ears. It is similar to an incisionless otoplasty, but is comparatively less intrusive.

Non surgical alternatives include the use of home remedies such as tape, glue or other adhesive materials in an to attempt to secure the ears. However, such solutions are only temporary, may cause irritation or itching of the skin and  interfere with the ability to have an otoplasty in the future. 

Plastic splints can also be placed to correct the formation of folds and creases. These can only be used at early stages of a person’s life such as infancy and must be worn for several months before getting results.


Will Ear Surgery Lead To Scarring?

Most of the ear surgeries involve an incision and thus might lead to development of scars. The more skilled the surgeon is, the less significant the scars are. After the surgery, the incision is closed with sutures which may result in folding of skin and lead to scarring.

These scars are generally not discernible because of the incision placement behind the fold of the ear in most cases. Thus, they are only visible if you fold the ear forward. The patient can always opt for techniques like the camouflage procedure to diminish the visibility of scars. Skin Camouflage is the technique of adding pigments to the scar site to match the nearby healthy skin.


What Are The Temporary Side-Effects Of Ear Surgery?
 

  1. It is normal for the ears to swell and feel tender after the surgery. Ice and over the counter painkillers are usually prescribed to deal with this complication. 

  2. Some patients also experience a small amount of tingling in their outer ear, but this also reduces over time. 

  3. Visible scar formation is rare, when experienced surgeons perform the procedure. Most of the incisions are made in normal creases of the ear, which rarely show after a procedure. 

  4. Risks like severe bleeding and infections are scarcely reported in otoplasties.


How To Choose A Surgeon For An Ear Surgery Procedure?

While selecting a specialist, there are a few considerations one should ideally keep in mind. Firstly, it is vital to verify credentials and certifications a surgeon holds. This can be done by checking whether they are registered surgeons with the local medical council. Such councils ensure that credentials are recognised globally, and their expertise matches that required by a doctor in their field of speciality.

Under most circumstances, a plastic surgeon will evaluate your ears and decide on the type of surgery you might require. For patients with protruding ears, otoplasty will require incisions. Your surgeon should one who is adept in scar revisions and avoiding keloids. 
For children, in addition to choosing a specialist surgeon, the anesthetists are also ideally evaluated, to check for their expertise in assisting in such surgeries. 

After selecting a surgeon, a patient can discuss his methods of performing surgeries, and how he deal with various surgical outcomes. Inquiring similar surgeries performed, enables a prospective candidate to get an idea of how experienced their surgeon is.

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