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Ageless Beauty

If Your Ears Protrude, is an Otoplasty Right for You?

Kate Hudson. Barack Obama. Miley Cyrus. Will Smith. All well-known celebrities – all known for having large ears. They have taken the bold stance of not hiding their protruding ears and going with what nature gave them. However, we don’t have to thanks to one word: otoplasty.

An otoplasty procedure can benefit your appearance, but is it worth it for cosmetic reasons? Here’s everything you need to know about it, including weighing the benefits, cost, and aftercare.

What’s an Otoplasty?

Otoplasty before and after

First and foremost, I feel a description of otoplasty is in order before I dig into exactly how it’s done. Literally meaning “ear pinning,” it’s a cosmetic procedure done on the ears to change their shape, size, or position. Most widely done to make the ears closer to the head, it can be performed for a variety of reasons, including the ears looking too big for or too far away from the head – or from a birth defect.

It’s a permanent fix, and folks rarely have to return to have their ears redone, so it’s a one-and-done type of surgery. Of course, in rare cases, there have been surgical do-overs when patients aren’t happy with the results.

Otoplasty does require going under general anesthesia, and there is some aftercare and visits to your doctor afterward. As for pain, it can be pretty uncomfortable as there are bandages wrapped around your ears and head to minimize swelling.

As for the best age to have the procedure done, generally, around five years of age is considered ideal. Having written that, you can have it done at any age, honestly. It’s all dependent on the person having the procedure, budget, and location.

How Does an Otoplasty Work?

Otoplasty image

In a nutshell, a surgeon either makes incisions on the back or insides of the ears. Once cut, the doctor then goes in and removes the excess cartilage and tissue that’s keeping the ears from staying close to the head. The cartilage is then folded, and stitches are placed inside and outside the ear for permanence.

After surgery, the head and ears are wrapped up snuggly to stop swelling and keep the ears securely in place while healing begins. Patients will need to stay in the bandages for around 10 days unless they come off or get soiled. Downsides to wearing the bandages include itchiness, reduced hearing, and (yuck) the smell of dried blood.

After the 10 days are up, sleeping in a light headband for a month is highly recommended. Total healing time is about six to eight weeks, but patients notice a change in their appearance at about two weeks as the incisions heal and swelling lessens.

And lastly, if you’re a side sleeper, you’ll need to get used to sleeping on your back for a couple of weeks after surgery. Surgeons recommend sleeping in a recliner to reduce swelling and avoid rolling over.

What Cosmetic Purpose Does Otoplasty Serve?

Otoplasty before and after

If you’ve never liked the look of your ears – or their size – you may have gotten creative with the hairstyles to keep them hidden. And while covering and teasing may help, it’s a temporary fix. If the ears are really sticking out from the head, there may be nothing that will really hide them. So then, it becomes a game of creativity. Otoplasty takes all of the extra temp work to keep the ears hidden and helps women gain more confidence and overall well-being.

Again, it’s all about making the person who has the surgery feel better about their appearance. Additionally, if the ear has been misshapen due to an accident, it’s a permanent way to repair the injury and can provide the patient with a better sense of well-being.

Having written that, I have scars on my face from an accident that will never go away, and having surgery to correct them would only make the scars more visible. If I could change them, I’d do it in a heartbeat because I really don’t enjoy looking in the mirror and being reminded of that day. So, I totally get surgical correction due to an accident/

So, if you feel like your ears are sticking out too far from your head, don’t like the shape of your ears, or feel they’re too large, otoplasty may be the fix you need. It makes the benefit outweigh the cost if it’s a big boost in self-confidence.

Ear-Stitch – An Alternative to Surgery

Over the past couple of years, ear-stitching has become a suitable alternative to surgical otoplasty. Instead of general anesthesia, local injections are given, and the doctor uses non-dissolving stitches in the ear cartilage.

Using this method, the doctor has extra control of ear location and proximity to the head, and there’s far less downtime and pain as well.

Otoplasty Cost

Of course, prices vary from doctor to doctor and even city to city, but in general, you can expect to pay from $3,700 to $5,000 and up. (source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons).

As for the ear-stitch method, you’re looking at anywhere from $800-$1400 for both ears.

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