It’s not as uncommon as you might think to feel self-conscious about the size, shape, or position of your ears. Whether you’re an earring enthusiast or you feel like your ears stick out a little too much, there are plenty of reasons to think about ear surgery. At the Rios Center for Plastic Surgery in Edinburg, TX, we know that otoplasty can be a great solution for people who want to enjoy a balanced and more proportional appearance.
When Should I Consider Otoplasty?
To be frank, there isn’t a “right” time to have otoplasty or any other type of plastic surgery. When you feel self-conscious about an aspect of your appearance, then you should strongly consider a cosmetic solution. That said, there are certainly some factors that may make you more likely to have ear surgery, such as your qualifications for the procedure.
To become a candidate for this treatment, you will need to attend a consultation appointment where we will go over your medical history and your expectations for this procedure. We will examine the size, shape, and placement of your ears to create a treatment plan that is specific to your aesthetic goals. As for when you should consider having ear surgery, some other factors worth your consideration may include:
Did you know most people have “grown” into their adult ears by the age of five? In fact, by that time, your ear will be about 90% of its estimated adult size, which is why patients who are at least five years old are sometimes good candidates for this procedure. Five is a minimum age because it ensures that the ear is mostly finished growing and that the procedure will be successful.
On the other side of the coin, your age must not be over 65. Although some people older than 65 may have this procedure, the limitation is usually placed based on health factors. Essentially, your age may cause health issues that don’t make you a good candidate for surgery,. This is why you may want to time your procedure between the ages of 30 and 50 for the most success.
Because ear surgery involves the use of general anesthesia, it’s important that every aspect of your lifestyle ensures that you are a healthy candidate. This means you should not be a smoker and that you are relatively healthy. For general anesthesia, your blood pressure is the most important factor to pay attention to. Having a healthy heart and healthy lungs is also vital.
You may also want to be aware of your daily medications and the way they can interact with general anesthesia. If you take Aspirin daily or certain supplements that cause blood-thinning, you may need to temporarily stop taking these medications to qualify for surgery. It’s common for part of your pre-operation instructions to include directions to not take NSAIDs or MAOIs for at least two weeks before your procedure.
Other Ear Surgery FAQs
1. Will You Have Scars?
No, there will be no visible scarring as a result of this procedure. This is sometimes an important factor for those who are considering this surgery, particularly parents who are seeking this surgery for their children. Fortunately, this surgery uses invisible incisions that are made in easily hidden areas.
For example, incisions are commonly placed at the back of the ear or in the folds of the ear. Scars are also less likely to form when the procedure is done at younger ages. This is because the healing factors in the skin are faster during youth and because the appearance of scars lessens over time. If you are still concerned about scarring, please let us know during your consultation so we can go over scar prevention solutions.
2. How Fast Will You See Results?
It’s common for the results of plastic surgery to take several months to appear. However, in the case of otoplasty, you will be able to enjoy the results of this surgery in only a few weeks. The majority of patients will be fully recovered and able to see the results of their procedure in as little as two weeks.
3. Will Your Insurance Cover This Procedure?
Usually, this procedure is considered cosmetic, which means your insurance may not pay for the cost of the procedure. A cosmetic procedure is typically one that is elective because there is nothing medically or structurally incorrect about the ear. In other words, otoplasty corrects the appearance of the ear, but will not correct any hearing issues.
However, there are some cases where the structure of the ear is caused by a medical reason. For example, congenital defects may be covered by your health insurance. If you have sustained trauma to the ear as a result of an accident or traumatic injury, your insurance may also cover the cost of the procedure.
4. Will You Need To Fast Before Your Appointment?
Yes, you will need to fast the night before your appointment. Because this procedure requires the use of general anesthesia, you will need to avoid eating or drinking after midnight. Your stomach must be empty so that you will not feel nauseous after your procedure. The night before your surgery, you should aim to eat a light dinner before 8 PM.
5. What Should You Do After Your Procedure?
You will need someone to drive you back home after your procedure. If you live alone, then you may also want to have a friend or family member stay with you since it will take some time for general anesthesia to wear off. After your procedure, you should focus on resting and relaxing.
You will need to avoid laying down on your side or putting pressure on your ears. You may not be able to wash your hair or expose your ears to water for at least 24 hours. We will provide you with several post-operative instructions to make your recovery comfortable.
6. Will You Need To Take Time Off?
Yes, you will need to take time off after your procedure. It’s common to take at least five to seven days off after your procedure so that you can benefit from the full recovery time. However, you may be able to go back to work after two to three days if you feel capable. If possible, you may want to work remotely after your procedure so that you can still recover without missing important projects or deadlines.
7. Will You Need Antibiotics After Surgery?
In addition to post-operative instructions, you will have several other tasks after your surgery. The most important part of your recovery is getting enough rest so your body can heal. You may be given certain medications, such as antibiotics, to take after your procedure. When you are taking antibiotics, it’s important to finish the entire round even if you don’t feel like you need to. Antibiotics are commonly prescribed after plastic surgery to assist the immune system in healing more quickly.
8. Will Your Hearing Change After This Procedure?
No, your hearing will not change after this procedure. Cosmetic ear surgery only focuses on the visible structure of the ear, also known as the outer ear. The most common areas that are altered during ear surgery include the tops of the ear, the size of the ear, the outer ear cartilage, and sometimes even the ear lobes. Because this surgery does not alter the inner structure of the ear, it’s very unlikely that your hearing will significantly change as a result of this procedure.
9. Are Your Results Permanent?
Yes, the results of this cosmetic procedure are intended to produce permanent results. This is because this procedure is only performed on people who have grown into their adult ears. Even for young patients, you can expect the results of this treatment to last a lifetime.
10. Are There Different Types of Otoplasty?
Traditional otoplasty is also called “ear pinning” and addresses ears that are protruding or prominent on the head. In other words, the most common form of this surgery is to make ears appear flatter on the sides of the head. However, there are other variants of this procedure that may be worth consideration.
Sometimes, ear surgery can be used to make ears appear smaller or larger, or otherwise reshape the cartilage portion of the ear to achieve a specific shape or size. This surgery can also be used to make earlobes smaller. It’s common for this surgery to remove bumps on the outer ridges of the ear. This surgery can even be used to make ears symmetrical, including the position of the ear so that glasses sit straight on the face.
11. What Causes Prominent Ears?
If you’ve had prominent ears your whole life, you may have wondered why they appear to protrude. There are usually two causes for prominent ears. The first is cartilage overgrowth in the “conchal bowl” of the ear that causes the entire ear to stick out. The second reason is sometimes a malformation during ear development when the upper fold of the ear, the helical rim, does not form an antihelical fold.
12. Will Your Results Appear Natural?
Yes, the results of this procedure will appear natural. The goal of most cosmetic procedures is to correct aesthetic concerns in a way that appears natural or does not draw attention to improvements. Because ear projection is easy to fix with surgery, the results will look natural no matter what age you seek the procedure.
13. Can You Pair This Procedure With Others?
Many people have multiple appearance concerns at one time, which means it’s not at all uncommon to be concerned about the appearance of your ears and other features on your face. Much of the time, this procedure is performed alongside other cosmetic procedures. For example, you can combine this procedure with other facial surgery, such as rhinoplasty or eyelid surgery.
You can also pair this procedure with non-surgical treatments, such as injectables like Botox and Kybella. Pairing this procedure with other cosmetic treatments can help you achieve your ideal aesthetic results at one time, which often makes for better recovery and more time enjoying the way you look.
Refine Your Ear Appearance Today
If you’ve been self-conscious about the appearance of your ears for years, then it’s high time to find a solution so you can feel confident about every aspect of your appearance. From prominent ears to minor cosmetic alterations, otoplasty can be a good solution for most people between the ages of five and 65. If you believe ear surgery is a good choice for your needs, contact us at the Rios Center for Plastic Surgery in Edinburg, TX, one of the premier clinics in the Rio Grande Valley area, to schedule your first appointment today.