This information provides you with general information which may or may not pertain to your case. Each patient is unique and you are encouraged to seek advice from Dr. Chow about any concerns. Every aspect of the surgery cannot be covered and you are encouraged to ask questions during your consultation.
Most individuals seeking consultations for ear reconstruction have protruding ears (bat ears) or deformities of the ear folds, which often results in ridicule and cruel remarks from peers. This in turn lowers their self-esteem and confidence.
Otoplasty can be performed to place the ears back in a more natural position dramatically improving the aesthetic appearance. Patients can be treated as outpatients under general anaesthesia or under local anaesthesia combined with IV sedation. For children it is better to wait until they are at least 6 years old. An advantage in performing otoplasty in children is that the cartilage is still soft and easily moulded, as cartilage becomes firmer with age. However, otoplasty is still very effective in teenagers and adults. Correction of severe deformities of the ears is more complex and can be discussed on an individual basis.
Otoplasty can be performed to:
• Even up the size and shape of ears that do not match
• Pin back protruding ears
• Reduce excess cartilage in the ears
Understanding the procedure
In the majority of cases an incision is made near the fold of the ear where the ear joins the head and an elliptical or dumbbell of skin is removed. The cartilage is then sculpted creating a more natural looking shape and stitched into place, or alternatively, a portion of cartilage may be removed and the ear folded back to its new permanent position. Stitches along the incision line will be either dissolvable or removed in 7-10 days. The surgery lasts 1-2 hours and the ears are covered with a head wrap. The patient will come back to the office approximately 2 days later for removal of the head wrap.
Patients are normally ready to go home after a few hours. Children must stay with a responsible adult for 24 hours if the child is discharged home on the same day.
Initial Consultation questions
• Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
• What is a realistic outcome for me after surgery?
• How long will the operation take?
• What is the recovery time?
• What are the risks involved?
• Is post-operative medication necessary?
• What is the charge for the procedure?
It is a good idea to write down the answers Dr. Chow provides so that you can review these carefully later. The consultation also provides you with an opportunity to meet Dr. Chow to determine whether your personality and hers are compatible and that you feel comfortable with her as your surgeon.
Cosmetic surgery is not a guarantee of happiness, success in life or relationships, and you need realistic expectations before embarking on surgery. Please think carefully about the reason why you are considering surgery and why at this point in your life. Suitable patients for cosmetic surgery are currently happy in their life and not obsessed about their appearance. These patients are seeking to enhance their appearance with subtle changes and realise the final result will not be perfect. If you are thinking about your appearance constantly, experiencing life problems and other stressors, you may requirepsychological help rather than cosmetic surgery.
MAKING A DECISION TO PROCEED WITH SURGERY
Whether your surgery is desired for functional or cosmetic reasons, your choice of a qualified facial plastic surgeon is of paramount importance. As a Facial Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Chow is trained in both Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery and Facial surgery, which provides you, the patient, with the highest level of training and expertise. You should be informed as much as possible before making a decision to proceed with surgery. Cosmetic surgery is an elective procedure, which means that it is a personal choice and not necessary for maintenance of good health. You can expect a thorough explanation from Dr. Chow regarding the various types of surgical procedures. Dr. Chow will inform you of the best methods of anaesthesia, the surgical facility where your procedure will take place and the benefits and risks involved in surgery. Following a joint decision by you and Dr. Chow to go ahead with the procedure, photographs of you will be taken and Dr. Chow will further discuss the options available.
A good rapport between you and Dr. Chow and realistic expectations are prerequisites for successful outcome. You are most likely to be pleased with the results if you have a realistic idea of what surgery can and cannot do. The goal is for a natural, aesthetically pleasing and balanced look. Please do not hesitate to seek another doctor’s opinion if you are uncertain about Dr. Chow’s advice. You are the most qualified person to select a surgeon that is right for you.
It is important that you are candid with Dr. Chow regarding your medical history so that she can plan the best possible treatment. This information is strictly confidential. Please inform her of any:
• Previous facial and/or cosmetic surgery
• Past and current medical conditions such as heart, lung and kidney disease, prolonged bleeding or excessive bruising, blood clots in the legs or lungs, or gastric reflux
• Current medications especially Aspirin, Plavix, Rivaroxaban, Anti-inflammatories, Warfarin, blood thinners, Insulin, and oral contraceptive pills. Over the counter products such as vitamins and herbal medications may also affect wound healing
• Allergies or adverse reactions to antibiotics, anaesthetic drugs or other medications
• Psychological and psychiatric illnesses
• Past keloid scarring or poor healing
• Connective tissue disorders such rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosis, scleroderma or similar
• Previous radiotherapy to the head, neck or breast areas.
Risks of Surgery
Modern surgery is safe but does have risks. Complications can occur despite the highest standards and world’s best practice principles used by Dr. Chow. It is not possible to list all the risks but you should be informed of the common side effects and benefits so that you can make an informed consent. Dr. Chow will discuss these in greater detail at consultation. You should write down any particular questions or
The potential risks are
General risk of surgery
• Wound infection – may require antibiotics
• Bleeding, blood clots or seroma
• Chest infection
• Sore throat from the breathing tube
• Scars that become raised (hypertrophic or keloid)
• Asymmetry is common as no two ears are the same. Rarely this is gross. Occasionally minor revision surgery will be recommended.
• Re-protrusion may occur in 5% of cases.
• Reduced sensation around the ears is common but this is temporary and should return to normal in 6 months.
• Nausea and loss of balance is temporary.
• Skin necrosis is very uncommon.
• Telephone or reverse telephone deformity
Final results following Otoplasty are not fully apparent for 3 to 6 months following surgery. We recommend that you have follow up appointments for assessment and postoperative photographs.
Otoplasty is a surgical operation to correct protruding ears and whilst every effort is made to produce a satisfactory improvement in appearance and optimal result, postoperative irregularities and asymmetry do sometime arise. Whilst such things can often be corrected, no guarantees are made in regards to eventual final results.
If you have any concerns please contact Dr. Chow’s office. Remember, we are all here to give you the best possible care.