American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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Ear Surgery

Otoplasty

Ear surgery, also known as otoplasty, improves the shape, position and proportion of the ear. It can correct a birth defect of the ear structure.

What should I expect before ear surgery?

What should I expect during a consultation for ear surgery?

The success and safety of your procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. You'll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.

During your ear surgery consultation be prepared to discuss:

  • Why you want the procedure, your expectations and desired outcome
  • Medical conditions, drug allergies and medical treatments
  • Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs
  • Previous surgeries

Your plastic surgeon will also:

  • Evaluate your general health status and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors
  • Take photographs for your medical record
  • Discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment
  • Discuss likely outcomes of ear surgery and any risks or potential complications

It's important to understand all aspects of your ear surgery. It's natural to be nervous about it, whether it's excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.

What questions should I ask my plastic surgeon about ear surgery?

The consultation is the time to ask your plastic surgeon questions. To help, we have prepared a checklist of questions to ask your plastic surgeon that you can take with you to your ear surgery consultation.

  • Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
  • Were you specially trained in the field of plastic surgery?
  • Do you have hospital privileges to perform this procedure? If so, at which hospitals?
  • Is the office-based surgical facility accredited by a nationally or state recognized accrediting agency, or is state licensed or Medicare-certified?
  • How many procedures of this type have you performed?
  • Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
  • What will be expected to get the best results?
  • Where and how will you perform my procedure?
  • What shape, size, surface texturing, incision site and placement site are recommended for me?
  • How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
  • What are the risks and complications associated with this procedure?
  • How are complications handled?
  • What are my options if I am dissatisfied with the outcome of my ear surgery?
  • Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at for each procedure and what are reasonable results?

How should I prepare for ear surgery?

In preparing for ear surgery, you may be asked to:

  • Obtain lab testing or a medical evaluation
  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
  • Stop smoking well in advance of surgery
  • Avoid taking aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding

Special instructions you receive will cover:

  • What to do on the day of surgery
  • The use of anesthesia during your procedure
  • Post-operative care and follow-up

Your plastic surgeon will also discuss where your procedure will be performed. Depending on the type of surgery you will undergo, your procedure may be performed in your plastic surgeon's accredited office-based surgical facility, an ambulatory surgical facility or a hospital.

You'll need help

If your ear surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.

What are the risks of ear surgery?

The decision to have plastic surgery is extremely personal and you will have to weigh the potential benefits in achieving your goals with the risks and potential complications of ear surgery. Only you can make that decision for yourself.

You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo, the alternatives and the most likely risks and potential complications.

Possible ear surgery risks include:

  • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Blood clots
  • Asymmetry
  • Infection
  • Poor wound healing
  • Change in skin sensation
  • Skin contour irregularities
  • Skin discoloration/swelling
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Allergies to tape, suture materials, glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Possibility of revisional surgery

These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.

Where will my surgery be performed?

Ear surgery may be performed in your board-certified plastic surgeon's accredited office-based surgical facility, an ambulatory surgical facility or a hospital. Your plastic surgeon and the assisting staff will fully attend to your comfort and safety.



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