Do you like the shape of your ears? Do you detest the way they protrude out? Do you regularly suffer from low self-esteem and confidence because of the way your ears look? Look no further, as cosmetic surgeons are here to the rescue through the process of Otoplasty.

Forget the misconceptions that are formed about the technique being a mere medical procedure for people whose ears have been disfigured due to accidents, illnesses and infections.

It is a cosmetic procedure that improves the shape of the ear by adjusting overstretched lobes, thereby improving the shape of the face. Otoplasty, also referred to as ear pinning surgery is a procedure that includes very minimal invasive procedures, perfect for kids from about four to fourteen years of years, and adults too.

Other ear problems that need Otoplasty procedure include lop ear (this occurs when the tip of the earlobe seems to move forward folded), shell ear (this occurs when the natural curves in the outer rim, folds and creases are missing) or cupped ear (small ear, that is, small in proportion to the face)

Want to know Otoplasty and what it entails? Come on:

  1. Keep certain things in mind: There are certain things you must know about before you head on for the surgical procedure
  • Do not expect your ears to be alike: No matter how hard any cosmetic surgeon tries, your ears will never look the same. The same thing goes with natural ears. Ensure that you are getting this surgery for a different reason.
  • Consider the financial cost: it is no surprise that anything that has to do with your face is expensive. No price for your beauty is too much. Most of these cosmetic surgeries are not cost-effective, so it is advisable that you put it on hold if you do not have the money or if your insurance doesn’t cover it.
  • Even if one ear is at fault, the surgeon will still perform the operation on both ears for balance.
  • Avoid it if you have health complications: The importance of this cannot be overemphasized, and it mostly applies to smokers. If you really want to undergo an Otoplasty or any surgery at all, it is advisable that you quit smoking for your good.
  1. Find a good cosmetic surgeon: Getting a good surgeon is as important as the process. He/she determines everything, so you have to really choose wisely. Do your research. Search for a comprehensive list of good cosmetic hospitals in town or even in the country (No price is too hard to pay for your look). Read up some material on Otoplasty to have an idea of what you are going to meet. Book meetings with at least three cosmetic surgeons, ask several questions based on what you read and choose the one that you are naturally inclined to if it’s your first time. Also, it is important that he/she possesses a license and belongs to a government-approved organization of cosmetic surgeons. This ensures the highest quality of work as most of these organizations have strictly laid down punishments for cosmetic surgeons who perform badly.
  2. Have a thorough conversation with the doctor: after the selection process, have a thorough conversation with the doctor. Do not hide anything, as any vital information that is withheld can be very detrimental to the success of the procedure. The information may include:
  • Medical history: Let the doctor know about your past, from the various surgeries you’ve gone, health challenges you constantly face, to even the type of medications you took or are currently taking. This will go a long way in aiding his/her decision
  • Physical and mental health: You have to inform the doctor about your physical and mental health to aid his/her decisions as well
  • Allergies and past medication reactions: You have to tell the doctor if you have any allergy so that they do not use a procedure that will end up being harmful to you. Also, tell the doctor how you respond to certain types of drugs and even anaesthetics.
  • Possible complications or risks: it is a two-way conversation. The surgeon usually informs you of the possible risks associated with Otoplasty. It is left for you to think and decide whether you really want it before you sign the consent form.
  • Guidelines before the surgery: The cosmetic doctor will give you a list of things to do in order to prepare for the surgery. For instance, you may be advised to take or stop certain drugs, or slightly change the dosage of drugs you take.
  1. The anaesthesia is administered: Based on the information you gave the doctor, he or she will now decide whether it will be safe to administer it or not. If it is, they also have to decide whether to give you general or local anaesthetics. Local anaesthetics, the one that only numbs your body and makes you unable to feel pain, is usually given in most cases. But if yours is complicated, a general anaesthetics, the one that allows you to sleep throughout the period of the operation- is administered.

Using anaesthesia is the only way of cheating the body into believing that you are not in pain. Sometimes, you may not even remember the event at all. If it does not and somehow the body detects, it may lead to high blood pressure, increased heartbeat rate and breathing.

It is very important that you do not eat anything before the anaesthesia is administered, as it can lead to catastrophic events afterwards.

  1. After the effects of the anaesthesia begin to show, the incision takes place and in different ways. For protruding ears, the incision is aimed at increasing the antihelical fold (inside the rim of the ear) are used.  Some cases also demand that incisions should be made to enlarge the conchal cartilage (or what you will call the deepest cavity in the ear). Otoplasty incisions are usually done on the rear of the ear, but it depends. Different stroke for different folk, people! If anything is done inside, it is probably to your best advantage as it will help to hide the scar very well
  2. Rearrangement and closing of the incisions: when the incisions are made, the surgeon will rearrange or remove any cartilage, and perform any other action that is required. When everything is done, he/she will stitch it back. Bandages are also applied to enhance speedy healing of the ears, and voila!
  3. Effects felt immediately after the procedure: There are no surgical procedures that do not come without effects, and this is no exception. After the procedure, expect the following:
  • Mild pain or discomfort: This is the commonest effect of most surgical procedures. You may experience mild pain and discomfort during the first week, especially if you want to lie down, but it is nothing pain medications cannot handle
  • Swelling: This is also an unexpected outcome. If the bandage is removed, you would see that the area has swollen and has become reddish. But this is a temporal effect that will heal with time
  • Numbness: This effect usually clears off after the anaesthesia wears off.
  • Nausea: For sensitive patients, they may have feelings of nausea after surgery. But the medications that are given after usually controls it. Still do well to inform the doctor.

Possible complications of Otoplasty

There is a certain amount of risk that is associated with every surgical procedure, and this is no different. However, due to high-level technology, extreme and dangerous cases have been reduced to the barest minimum. But, depending on the individual, possible complications may include:

  • Complicated heart conditions: any small mishap that causes blood clots may result in fatal heart conditions such as hypertension, heart attack, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, etc.
  • Excessive bleeding: As a result of the person’s body nature and an inability of the doctor to do a good job, the procedure may lead to excessive bleeding of the ears that may lead to something more dangerous.
  • The unevenness of the ears: Like it was stated earlier, even though it is only one ear that is affected, the cosmetic surgeon may tend to operate on both ears. This can cause unevenness of ears at the end of the day, something you were trying to avoid
  • Infections: These procedures usually bring about infections especially in the cartilage, causing a formation of scar tissues. Also, fibrous overgrowths can permanently distort the shape of the ears. This phenomenon is commonly known as cauliflower ears.
  • Risks of anaesthesia: Some bodies can be very averse to anaesthesia and produce several side effects such as allergic reactions, which can be very deadly. This is why it is very important to inform the doctor of these peculiar situations.
  • Itchy scars: The scars may be inflamed after the procedure. It may itch so bad that you will be tempted to touch it but try as much as possible not to.
  • Necrosis: dead skin may occur around the wound.
  • Further surgery: If complications arise from this procedure, another surgery needs to be fixed to arrange it, and you know what that means…More money!

Self care tips after Otoplasty 

The surgeon normally gives self-care advice before the procedure commences, but general tips include:

  • Follow all the instructions as prescribed by the doctor to ensure a safe and happy recovery process.
  • Experiencing soreness and swelling is a normal thing that happens to patients. It usually subsides after three weeks, so chill! You’ll be fine.
  • Do not allow excessive noise close to the ears. Calls should be answered on a loudspeaker and patient should desist from using earpieces and headphones during the recovery time.
  • Ensure you wear your tight bandages anywhere you go, at least for the period of two weeks. This includes the dressings at night. Remember, nothing good comes without a price.
  • Report any unusual sign, symptom or severe bleeding and pain to the doctor. Do not assume that all is well after the procedure. There may be a huge complication crawling in. During the later consultations and checkups, do well to inform your doctor of the slightest discomfort you have.
  • Take adequate rest: No work can be placed above your health during the period. It is highly important that you take out adequate time to rest and make sure that you get someone to look after you for about three weeks. Plus, take your medications at the right time.

P.S: Don’t forget that you may have a faint scar behind your ears after the procedure that may fade away after eighteen months or so.

Alternatives to Otoplasty

Many people decide to do cosmetic surgery due to a lot of reasons. As adults, we may be drawn to these activities due to the dissatisfactions we have with our facial structure, or because of peer pressure or lack of self-esteem. For kids, they may want to undergo the surgery due to the incessant backlash and bullying they may be experiencing at their schools.

It is very important that cosmetic surgeons find out, through a series of questions, if it is their ultimate will and desire. The solution to the kids’ challenges may be counselling. Maybe he/she needs to have a reorientation of life. Sending your child for counselling may be a great way of boosting his/her confidence. Teaching your child at home to appreciate his/her body parts will go a long way in helping the child make good decisions in the future. Also, principals and school teachers should work hand in hand to give the right punishments and treatments to bullies.

CONCLUSION: Your ears are an indispensable part of your body, and can make or mar your face. There are amazing benefits that come with this procedure that you can’t afford to miss. So when you want to do an Otoplasty, don’t procrastinate! Do thorough research, meet with the cosmetic surgeon (ensure he/she has his/her license), have a thorough conversation, lay your ‘realistic’ desires and fears, and go through with it. It’s a journey you would not regret…