Otoplasty (Ear Correction)
What is an otoplasty?
Otoplasty, also known as ear correction surgery, is a surgical procedure to correct prominent ears by setting them back closer to the head.
This procedure can be performed for aesthetic (cosmetic) purposes or for medical/functional reasons, the latter being dependent on strict Medicare eligibility criteria. From 1 November 2018, this procedure was deemed by Medicare to be purely aesthetic (cosmetic) for patients aged over 18 years old.
When is otoplasty desirable?
The operation is usually performed after the age of five or six years. This corresponds to the time when the child is about to start school, when he or she may become embarrassed and withdrawn because of their perceived difference from their classmates. It may also be performed on adults.
How would an otoplasty help me?
A consultation with your Specialist Plastic Surgeon is the first step when you are considering an otoplasty for your child or yourself. You should frankly discuss your goals and expectations about the prospects of looking and feeling better after surgery. You should always keep in mind that the desired result is improvement, not perfection.
How important are psychological factors in relation to an otoplasty?
Emotional stability is the primary factor to be considered before any surgery is performed. Although some children are able to cope with the self-consciousness created by this condition, some may need extra help before fully benefiting from this surgery. Some people’s anxiety about their ears may continue into adulthood, and this has to be discussed fully with your surgeon.
How is otoplasty surgery performed?
The operative technique will vary depending on the patient’s physical features and your surgeon’s methods. The aim is to create a more pronounced fold in the central portion of the ear by remodelling the cartilage. Skin is removed from behind the ear, part of the cartilage is folded or removed, and the ear is allowed to bend naturally towards the side of the head.
The surgery is performed in Perth in a fully-accredited hospital. The surgery can be performed as a day procedure or alternatively with a short hospital stay, under either local anaesthesia (with or without sedation) or general anaesthesia, depending on your general health and the extent of the procedure. The procedure takes about 1 hour and recovery is usually rapid.
Are there any complications with ear correction surgery?
Although no major complications are expected with ear correction surgery, bleeding and bruising may occur. Occasionally, a set back ear may protrude again, necessitating a second procedure. You should follow your surgeon’s advice carefully to reduce the risk of complications. It is unrealistic to expect perfect symmetry between the two sides.
What post-operative care is required?
Patients are discharged with a head bandage, which is worn for up to one week. Bandages are often worn at night for a further two weeks.
When can I resume normal activities following an otoplasty?
Most patients are able to return to school or work in one week but are advised to avoid excessive exercise for three weeks.
How much does this procedure cost?
Please contact us online or call us on (08) 9380 0333 and one of our medical secretaries can provide you with more information. Please note that pricing does vary from case to case.
The Australian Foundation for Plastic Surgery (part of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons) is a helpful and reliable source of information online. Their website is an excellent place to research a range of surgical procedures and non-surgical treatments, and view video animations. Click here to visit their website.