Although some people may embrace their hooked nose, gapped teeth, or hooded eyelids, most prefer to have facial features that don’t stand out for any particular reason, because they draw unwanted attention. Unique ears are a common source of teasing and ridicule among children, but adults feel the effects as well, although the jabs may be more subtle.
At Robert A Guida, MD in New York City and Staten Island, New York, we understand the frustration of having prominent ears, and we offer a permanent solution for children and adults. Dr. Guida, our double-board-certified plastic surgeon, performs state-of-the-art otoplasty (ear surgery) to reshape and reposition your noteworthy ears.
Otoplasty is almost always considered elective cosmetic surgery because it’s typically performed to correct your look aesthetically for personal reasons.
However, there are times when ear surgery may be medically necessary, such as cases of deformities and congenital abnormalities. Sometimes, prominent or misshapen ears can cause pain when sleeping. Since the outer ear plays only a minor role in hearing, it usually doesn’t affect your ability to hear, but in some severe cases of deformity, it may affect the ears’ ability to gather sound waves efficiently.
While functional difficulties associated with prominent ears are rare, studies show that emotional and psychological problems are far more common. Those who have large ears or ears that protrude from the side of the head, tend to have low self-esteem and low self-confidence, which can lead to feelings of isolation and depression.
So, determining whether otoplasty is necessary may not always be a matter of physical health, but rather mental and emotional health.
Otoplasty is one of the few types of elective plastic surgeries recommended for children as young as five years old. In fact, if your child was born with prominent ears, this is the perfect age for them to have otoplasty, as their ear growth is complete, and they’re about to begin school.
Ideally, ears angle away from the head at about 21-30 degrees — any more than that, and they appear to stick out. It might be a matter of genetics or the result of a health condition that affects cartilage growth. Often, a baby born with misshapen or prominent ears will “grow out” of them as their features develop and change.
Adults with prominent ears may experience less overt teasing, but still feel self-conscious about their noticeable ears. Whether you’ve lived with the problem your whole life, or you acquired misshapen ears from an injury, the stigma can be painful.
Dr. Guida offers otoplasty for both children and adults dealing with the repercussions of abnormal ears. The primary qualifications are that you’re a healthy nonsmoker over the age of five with a clear understanding about the procedure and reasonable expectations.
Otoplasty is surgery, so you’ll receive sedation or general anesthesia. Dr. Guida always places incisions in inconspicuous folds or behind your ear where the resulting scar won’t be seen.
To correct protruding ears or reduce the large cavity inside your ear, he may increase the fold just inside your ear rim called the antihelical fold. If your ears are too big or misshapen, he resculpts them and pins them back with stitches.
Dr. Guida expertly reconstructs your ears so they’re more modest and symmetrical, in accordance with your preoperative consultation. You can expect to wear a compression bandage for the first few days after your otoplasty, followed by a protective headband for another few days. All said, you should be back to normal in about a week.
If you’re tired of feeling self-conscious about your ears, schedule an appointment to talk with Dr. Guida. You can book online or call our friendly staff at either location today.