The Toronto, ON Otoplasty Specialist
Cosmetic reshaping of the ears can improve facial aesthetics by restructuring the ears and altering their position on the head. Ears that were once distracting can be made harmonious with the rest of the facial features. Facial plastic surgeon Dr. Mounsey of Revesse-Toronto performs otoplasty surgery for patients of all ages with expert results.
What is Otoplasty?
Better known as ear pinning surgery or cosmetic ear surgery, otoplasty is performed to lessen the appearance of prominent ears and establish a better proportion between the ears and the head. Ear surgery can also treat asymmetrical ears, structural abnormalities, and trauma caused by injury. In most patients, the two main causes of protruding ears are irregularities in the conchal bowl or antihelical fold, or both. The conchal bowl is the area of ear directly outside of the ear canal, which may not have fully formed and therefore does not offer proper contouring. The antihelical fold assists the ear positioning by creating a natural position closer to the head, though insufficiently formed cartilage can prevent this formation.
This procedure can be performed on children as young as four years of age. Some parents elect to have this procedure performed when their child is young to improve their appearance before entering school and minimize bullying associated with having protruding or large ears. Other patients may wait until later in life to undergo correction. The ears must be fully formed in order to be cosmetically altered, and a consultation is a great way to learn about the formation of the anatomy.
How is Otoplasty Performed?
Cosmetic ear surgery is performed through an incision created behind each ear, cut in the natural tissue line that joins the ear cartilage with the head. Through this opening in the crease, the doctor can access the cartilage, which is the firm, elastic tissue that creates the structure of each ear. He can then trim away extra tissue, forming the ears into a more desirable size and shape. When the suture is closed, the ear can be sutured closer to the head to minimize protrusion. Both the cartilage and skin of the ear can be addressed during the surgery.
Typically, children must be placed under general anesthesia to undergo otoplasty. This minimizes movement and provides a stress-free procedure for the child. Adults generally require a local anesthetic for pain management and sedation for their comfort. The doctor may be able to perform this procedure in-office or utilize an equipped surgical center for optimal patient care.
Benefits of Otoplasty Surgery
Large ears that stick outward can create a number of optical illusions in a person’s appearance. The ears may cause the head to appear small, distort the width of the face, and serve as a distraction from the natural curvature of the cheekbones. After patients have undergone otoplasty, they feel more confident sporting short hair, wearing their hair pulled back, or donning hats that show off the ears. While patients may visit the doctor during childhood, in their teenage years, or even as adults, many parents opt for surgery earlier in a patient’s life in an effort to spare them from the ridicule that prominent ears tend to evoke in the young.
Following otoplasty, patients will have protective bandages placed over their ears. These dressings cover the surgical site to prevent infection and may also guide each ear into its new, permanent position. In some patients, a special medical headband is worn postoperatively for one to two weeks and possibly at night for up to a month. This is to promote healing in the proper position. Some discomfort is expected but it is kept to a minimum through prescription medication and by sleeping on the back as opposed to the front or side positions. Patients will also be asked to refrain from wearing hats or other head coverings that may interfere with surgical results for a few weeks, and many sports must be postponed until healing has been fully completed, which can take a few months. Icing may be allowed as needed, per the doctor’s instructions. Normal activities can typically be resumed in 5-7 days, depending on patient comfort.
Other Cosmetic Ear Procedures
While otoplasty treats fully formed but prominent or large ears, ear reconstruction surgery is offered to patients who may have deformities of the ears that cause them to feel self-conscious. An abnormal formation of this feature is common in patients born with hemifacial microsomia, hereditary Treacher-Collins syndrome, and microtia. In these conditions, the ears may be underdeveloped, small, and asymmetrical, all of which can be improved through ear reconstruction surgery.
Because the ears are formed of cartilage, Dr. Mounsey offers a natural result by performing the reconstruction through the use of the patient’s own cartilage. This tissue can be taken from the ribs during a minor surgical removal process. Through this artful procedure, the doctor skillfully carves the cartilage to the size and shape of an ear that would fit well with the proportions of the patient’ face and head. The constructed cartilage is then inserted under the skin in the desired position. The results of an ear reconstruction are remarkable and do not appear artificial in any way.
Combining Otoplasty with Other Procedures
While commonly requested as a standalone procedure, patients may not be aware of the benefits that additional procedures can provide. Ear pinning can be combined with a skin resurfacing treatment like microdermabrasion, laser skin resurfacing, or chemical peel since the focus will now return to the face. These treatments address the tone and texture of the skin, promoting the healthy regrowth of the uppermost layers of skin. Dermal fillers may also promote a healthy, refreshed appearance that accentuates the redesigned ears.
Candidates for Otoplasty Surgery
The best way for an interested person to learn if they are qualified to undergo otoplasty is to meet with Dr. Mounsey for a consultation. Healthy individuals with fully formed ears, and who understand the limitations of this cosmetic procedure may be able to undergo surgery with the doctor. Large ears that noticeably jut out from the head can be easily altered on both males and females alike through the repositioning or removal and contouring of tissue.
The Otoplasty Consultation
Those who are considering ear pinning surgery should visit with Dr. Mounsey at his Toronto practice, Revesse. The doctor will examine the ears and head to determine which changes could provide the patient with their requested results. He may utilize photographs and imaging software to show prospective patients the possible results of the procedure. If the doctor has any concerns about the patient’s health, he may request lab work, testing, or imaging to ensure patient safety during surgery.
How long does it take to undergo otoplasty?
The procedure itself will likely take between two to three hours to perform. Patients should arrive at the office on time so as not to delay their treatment time. Because anesthesia and sedatives will be administered prior to the surgery, patients will need to arrange to receive a ride home.
Are there any special precautions to take prior to undergoing otoplasty?
Otoplasty patients should wear a shirt that buttons, zippers, or snaps so they will not have to pull anything over their head and risk hurting the ears. Also, they should arrive at the appointment freshly bathed to limit the risk of infection.
Can otoplasty reduce the size of the ears as well as reposition them?
Otoplasty can effectively pin the ears closer to the head and reduce their overall size by trimming extra cartilage of the upper and mid ear. Cartilage is malleable and can be molded and sutured into a preferred shape. Not all cases require the removal of cartilage as the doctor may instead opt to fold the cartilage back on itself to angle the ears appropriately.
Are the results from ear surgery permanent?
Otoplasty is performed to offer everlasting changes to the ears. The results will last indefinitely so long as the patient does not experience any trauma to the ears and follows the postoperative instructions provided by Dr. Mounsey and his staff.
Will otoplasty affect a person’s hearing or alleviate any conditions of the inner ears?
Ear surgery is performed to alter the look of the ears and will not impact their internal function in any way. The purpose of the surgery is to improve a person’s aesthetics and therefore his or her self-esteem.
Does insurance cover otoplasty?
Because ear surgery is considered elective, the procedure is not typically covered by different insurance companies. There are financing options available through Revesse which can be explored by contacting the office.
About Dr. Mounsey with Revesse of Toronto
Facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Robert A. Mounsey, MD, FRCSC, FACS is a practitioner in Toronto, Ontario and sees patients form North York, Brampton, Mississauga, and beyond. The doctor is an expert in facial plastics and provides a number of surgical and nonsurgical procedures to his broad patient base.
Schedule a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Mounsey to discover how to improve your appearance.
Reach the Revesse staff via telephone at 226.778.0671 or via email through the Patient Contact Form.