The external ear (pinna) is made of a thin structural cartilage, covered with thin skin. Each of the various folds and structures of the pinna is named. Ear deformity results from distorted, damaged or missing ear elements.
Otoplasty surgery involve a combination of moving, reshaping, adding or removing structural ear elements.
Most otoplasty surgery is performed as a outpatient surgery, some requires a hospital stay. The procedure can take from 2 to 5 hours.
Incising 1 side of a flat cartilage piece leaves unopposed elastic forces on the other side and permits the shape to evolve over time. Thus, incising 1 side of the lop-ear cartilage along the new anti-helical fold may be 1 element of the surgery. This can be done through a small incision. An "Incisionless Otoplasty" places a needle through the skin to model the cartilage and the retention sutures.
For many ear operations, 1 or more incisions give access to the structures to be sculpted. The main and often only incision, is behind the ear. Through the incision behind the ear, the concha bowl can be moved closer to the head, a small tunnel created along the front of a poorly folded antihelix to weaken this cartilage, sutures placed to reshape the anti-helix fold and to balance the ear lobe with the rest of the ear.
Ear reduction otoplasty may involve reducing 1 or more components of the ear. Incisions are typically hidden near folds in the front when a part of this surgery.
Microtia (small ear deformity) or anotia (missing ear deformity) involve augmentation or adding elements to replace deformed or missing structures. Cartilage from the ear or rib are the most common for these more extensive reconstructions. Other ear shapes may be changed through moving, adding or weakening ear structures.
Internal sutures often are permanent. The wounds are then closed with either dissolvable sutures or ones that are removed by a doctor after the wounds have healed. A bulky ear dressing protects the ear after surgery.
This page has been updated on the 2017-12-18.