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Common Concerns About Otoplasty for Adults

Woman Touching Her Ear
Do you feel as though your ears stick out too far? Perhaps you've always assumed there is nothing you can do about your protruding ears now that you're an adult. Ear pinning, after all, is a procedure most commonly performed on young children. However, while ear pinning may not be as common in adults, you can still have your ears surgically altered, regardless of your age.
Otoplasty, or ear pinning, is a rather simple procedure. However, most patients do have a few concerns as they consider having their ears altered.
Will You Be Put Under Anesthesia?
Many people find the idea of being put under general anesthesia scary. The good news is that, in most cases when performed on adults, otoplasty is performed under local anesthesia only. Your ear and the area around your ear will be numbed with an injection, and you may be given a sedative to calm your nerves, but you will remain awake throughout the procedure.
Otoplasty only takes one to two hours. Your doctor will observe you for an hour or two after the surgery, and then a friend or family member can drive you home.
How Much Time Will You Need to Take Off From Work?
Many working professionals can't easily take a month off to have cosmetic surgery performed. Luckily, otoplasty has a rather short recovery time. You can expect to return to work within a week. Your ears may still be somewhat swollen and bruised at this point, but you can cover them with a supportive headband.
You will need to avoid regular exercise for about two weeks after surgery, and full-contact sports like football for three months after surgery. But recovering from otoplasty is not overly painful; you should be able to manage your discomfort with over-the-counter pain relievers.
Will You Have Scars?
Otoplasty does not mean trading prominent ears for scars. Your surgeon will have to make some incisions to remove excess cartilage from your ears, but the surgeon will carefully place those incisions towards the back of your ear where the scars will be hidden either by your hair or by the ear itself.
In rare cases, the scars left by otoplasty surgery are larger or more prominent than the patient would like. In these cases, a follow-up surgery can reduce the appearance of the scars.
How Risky Is Otoplasty Surgery?
Although all surgeries present some risks, ear pinning is a pretty low-risk procedure. Some patients lose sensation in and around their ears, although this affect is rarely permanent.
There is also a risk of infection. You can reduce the risk of infection by following your doctor's aftercare instructions. Tell your doctor if your ears become red, overly painful, or hot to the touch post-surgery, as these signs may indicate infection. Your doctor can prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection; most outcomes are favorable.
Can You Change the Size and Shape of Your Ears, Too?
What if you are not only unhappy with the placement of your ears, but also with their size or shape? Your plastic surgeon can often alter the size and shape of your ears at the same time that they perform ear pinning surgery.
They can shorten your earlobes or repair damage caused by gauge earrings. During your consultation, talk with your surgeon extensively about your desired look to ensure you're pleased with the results of your surgery.
Otoplasty, or ear pinning, is a rather straightforward cosmetic procedure that yields great results for many adult patients. If you have additional concerns about this procedure or are looking for a cosmetic surgeon in the Saginaw area, contact Ronald C. Barry, MD.