Otoplasty is a fairly common procedure that is often performed on young children. The term refers to surgical ear reshaping. Because the ears mature at an early age, it is possible to perform this operation on children as young as 4 or 5 years old. Otoplasty is often performed to pull in ears that stick out too far. However, the procedure can also be performed on patients who have suffered trauma, either in children or adults. Ear trauma is often a result of rough contact sports, and can leave the ear with severe deformities, such as “cauliflower ear.”
What Is Cauliflower Ear?
Cauliflower ear most often occurs when someone suffers a blow to the ear, resulting in fluid collection (blood or otherwise) between the cartilage of the ear and the connective tissue. Over time, fibrous tissue forms, creating a misshapen appearance that resembles cauliflower. This issue will not revert on its own, and though some damage can be prevented by acting quickly at the time of the injury, some people will wish to pursue further improvement with facial plastic surgery.
Cauliflower ear, though it can occur in children, is more common in adult athletes involved in sports such as boxing, wrestling, and rugby. While there are some types of protective gear that can be used to help prevent the problem, it is not always possible to avoid injury in rough contact sports.
When to Get Treatment
While timing of corrective surgery is flexible, athletes may want to consider future plans before deciding to undergo reconstructive otoplasty to correct cauliflower ear. Future involvement in the same sports sustains a risk for re-injury, so athletes may want to wait until they have retired from sports to consider ear surgery.
The surgery itself usually takes about two to three hours to perform, depending on the complexity of the issue. For severe deformities, multiple surgeries may be necessary. Initial recovery takes about 7-10 days, and patients must be careful to practice good aftercare in order to help ensure good results.
Because cauliflower ear is a major deformity, it is sometimes not possible to restore the appearance of the ear to near normal. With that in mind, patients need to maintain realistic expectations about their results and expect improvement rather than perfection. Perfection is not realistic for any plastic surgery procedure, particularly reconstructive surgery, but a talented surgeon can do a great deal to help normalize the ear’s appearance. Patients with reasonable expectations are much more likely to be pleased with their results than those who are less flexible with their vision for the eventual results.
An Expert Surgeon
Reconstructive surgery is a difficult facet of plastic surgery, and only an expert facial plastic surgeon has the skill to give you good results from your procedure. It is best to seek help from an experienced, board certified surgeon who has a proven track record in reconstructive surgery, like Dr. Robert A. Mounsey of Revesse in Toronto. Dr. Mounsey has years of experience helping otoplasty patients reach their goals, and is standing by to help you plan your ear reconstruction. Call Revesse at 416-438-2499 today to schedule your consultation.