Otoplasty (surgery aimed to correct otapostasis or protruding ear) is one of the most common plastic surgical interventions. In German clinics of plastic surgery, these types of procedures are conducted at a high quality level.
Protruding ears are not only a physiological problem: such a defect can cause an inferiority complex in children and adolescents. While the normal shape of the ears is determined by the spatial bending of the auricular cartilage, the protruding ears (in some cases) are caused by genetically determined deviations. For example, parts of the cartilage may be too large. In some cases the bend of the auricle is too little expressed causing the auricles to grow laterally from the head.
Correction of the ears shape or otoplasty, may also be required after an injury or to eliminate marks after wearing earrings and plugs.The protruding ears can be a reason for offensive teasing in the kindergarten or school causing the child to have mental and social problems. To avoid this, the correction of the ears shape, or otoplasty, is often performed in early childhood. After the age of five, the growth of the ears is considered complete. Therefore, it is recommended to carry out the "otoplasty" procedure in the preschool age. If the surgical intervention was not carried out in childhood, it can be done at a young and even adult age.
Depending on the initial state of the patient, the clinics in Germany offer different techniques for conducting the operation. Above this, with the help of a small surgical intervention - otoplasty in Germany, it is possible to correct the torn or too long lobes, as well as the holes in the ears, left by massive earrings.
Fast facts about otoplasty
- Treatment Around 1-2 hours (depending on the method).
- Anaesthesia Depending on the method local or general anesthesia can be used or no anesthesia.
- Postoperative care 3 weeks after the correction, it is necessary to wear a frontal bandage around the clock, which contributes to the healing process. After small surgical interventions only regular control over a condition of the wound surface is required.
- Recovery Outpatient, return to daily life after 1-3 days. With small corrections, there is no period of temporary disability.
Before ear correction
Ten days before surgery, you should not take painkillers that contain acetylsalicylic acid (e.g. aspirin). The blood-thinning effect delays blood clotting and can cause bleeding with damage to cartilage and skin. Reduce the consumption of nicotine and alcohol to a minimum before the procedure.
If you take medication regularly or suffer from allergies (e.g. against medication, disinfectants or plasters), be sure to tell the doctor. Make sure you also inform him about known diseases. Get a wide, soft headband that you can wear over your ears after the surgery. You should plan around seven days off after the procedure, on which you or your child are unlikely to be able to work or school.
As a rule, ear correction can be done on an outpatient basis, either in the practice of a specialist in plastic and aesthetic surgery or in a clinic or day clinic.
The intervention can also be carried out in the hospital.
The ear is corrected either with local anesthesia or general anesthesia. Young children are usually operated on under general anesthesia. It is best to discuss with your plastic surgeon which preliminary examinations are necessary and when they are to be carried out. You will also have the opportunity to discuss anesthesia with the anesthetist. The anesthetist constantly monitors the patient's heartbeat and breathing during general anesthesia.
A small puncture behind the auricle is required for local anesthesia. The patient may notice pressure or pulling on the ears during the operation.
The doctor needs about one to two hours for an ear correction, or longer depending on the effort.
The patient is on his back. The face and hairline are disinfected, the rest of the body is covered with sterile towels up to the neck. In the usual method, the auricular cartilage is exposed through a skin incision on the back of the ear. The doctor thins out the cartilage with a fine file until it forms the desired shape. The cartilage is then firmly anchored with permanent, transparent sutures and the skin is closed with a continuous suture. The skin incision and the sutures are not noticeable, when grinding in the cartilage you hear and feel a humming sound.
In another method, the cartilage tension is minimally invasively weakened with a special file. The file is inserted through a tiny skin incision on the back of the ear and thins out the cartilage above the main fold of the auricle (Anthelix). The cartilage itself is not exposed. After the cartilage has been formed, it is fastened with transparent sutures.
Following the operation, both ears are fixed with plasters, on which a bandage of caps comes. Adults may be able to wear a wide headband right away.
Postoperative care - otoplasty in Germany
Immediately after the operation, pain in the auricles and possibly a bluish discoloration can be expected. Because the ear canal may be irritated, nausea may occasionally occur. This can be alleviated with suitable medication and quickly regresses. When sleeping and lying down, you should wear a cap bandage or a soft headband for five to six weeks so that there is no kinking of the ear cup. The bandage should also be worn during the day for the first three weeks. During this time, the ears are still swollen and sensitive to touch.
If you have not sewn with self-dissolving threads, the threads can be removed after five to ten days. The final ear shape is only reached after two to three months because of the remaining swelling. The scar fades over time and is barely noticeable later.
After using the sedative, pain reliever or narcotic, the ability to react after the operation is temporarily impaired. So let yourself or your child be picked up and ensure constant supervision during the first 24 hours. Inability to work and school incapacity can be expected for a few days. You should be careful when washing your hair for six weeks and not fold your ears. You should also do without sports, sauna and swimming pool during this time. Earrings should not be worn one month after surgery. Glasses wearers are advised to temporarily use contact lenses because the frame is too stressful on the cartilage - or wear the glasses wearers over the headband.
If necessary, ear correction can be carried out again. After the procedure, the result can change due to scarring or restoring forces of the cartilage, so that the ear can deform again. In such cases, the results can be corrected again with a second surgical intervention.
What complications can arise?
Every operation involves risks. However, the risks of ear correction can be minimized if the operation is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon with sufficient experience. Despite the greatest care, however, as with any surgical intervention, complications can occasionally occur during or after the operation.
There is a general risk of bruising and bleeding. Infections can lead to wound healing disorders. Blood clots can lead to vascular occlusion (thrombosis) or get into the lungs (pulmonary embolism). Allergies and intolerances can occur when medication or narcotics are given. If blood transfusions are necessary, an infection cannot be excluded with all precautionary measures. After the operation, feelings of numbness may appear due to depressed nerves or other positioning damage, but these usually subside.
In rare cases, an infection of the wound or even the ear cartilage occurs, which delays healing. In the worst case, part of the cartilage can also be lost. Damage to the skin or cartilage caused by a blood supply disorder is very rare. The risk is increased if previous procedures have been carried out on the outer ear. The operated areas usually heal spontaneously. Surgical closure of the wound is rarely necessary.
Since healthy skin nerves are severed during the procedure, this can lead to reduced sensation and sensitivity to the cold. This resolves within several months, but can be persistent in individual cases. In the rare incompatibility of the thread material, the thread is rejected and the ears stick out again. In general, the cartilage is elastic, so that depending on the surgical technique, the auricle can sometimes protrude again.