Otoplasty by Melissa Johnson MD, FACS
Otoplasty (ear surgery) & Earlobe Repair
Otoplasty, or ear surgery, improves the size, shape, or position of your ears. It can correct a deformity you were born with or a deformity caused by an injury. In adults, earlobe repair may be desired to close up the holes from the practice known as earlobe gauging or stretching of the earlobe. This may also be referred to as earlobe reduction surgery. Many women have damaged earlobes from wearing heavy earrings (stretched piercing) or from an earring being ripped from the earlobe (split earlobe). As we age earlobes may lose collagen and begin to sag, accentuating holes from earrings. In children, an otoplasty is commonly performed before they start school to prevent ridicule from other children. Being satisfied with the appearance of your ears can have a great effect on self-confidence. See our earlobe repair before & after photos and FAQs below.
Anatomy of the outer ear
The auricle (pinna) and the external auditory canal are part of the external ear. The fine contour of the ear is determined by the form and shaping of the elastic auricular cartilage, which is covered by a skin with fine pores. The lobule itself does not contain cartilage, but is composed of adipose and connective tissue.
SOURCE: NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE, COPYRIGHT © 2008 NAUMANN
We Love Questions!
Am I a good candidate for otoplasty?
An otoplasty will improve the appearance of your ears. If you or your child are unhappy with the size or shape of your ears, or if you have a visible deformity caused by an injury, ear gauging, or birth defect, you may benefit from an otoplasty. We recommend that children be at least 5 years old to have ear surgery. By this age the ear is fully developed. During your consultation, we will provide you with our expert opinion on whether you are a good candidate. We will discuss the surgical process along with any possible risks and complications of the surgery.
How should I prepare for my otoplasty consultation?
Researching otoplasty on reputable internet sites such as the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons can be very informative to help provide an overview. However, the best information will be obtained by making an appointment and speaking with Dr. Johnson. At the time of your consultation it may also be helpful to review before and after photos of patients who have had the procedure. During your consultation we will provide you with all the needed information for you to be able to make a comfortable, confident decision about having surgery. It's a good idea to write down any questions or concerns you have so they can be fully addressed at your consultation. Know what your surgical expectations are so Dr. Johnson can discuss them with you. If you are a smoker, we recommend you quit to help reduce the risk of wound healing complication. We also recommend a healthy lifestyle to help your recovery process.
Will I be seen by the surgeon?
Yes. Dr. Johnson will meet with you and she will discuss all your surgical options. Dr. Johnson will provide you with the necessary information so that you feel confident and comfortable with your surgical decision.
Is the plastic surgeon board certified?
Yes. Dr. Johnson is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and is a proud member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Additionally, she is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, which recognizes surgeons who specialize in cosmetic plastic surgery.
Will I be charged for an initial consultation?
Yes. There is a $100 cosmetic consultation fee. If you choose to have surgery with Dr. Johnson, the $100 will go towards the surgical fee.
Are there different types of otoplasty procedures?
With ear surgery there is no one technique used on every patient. Every ear is different and the procedures performed are dependent on your needs and desired results. The procedure will be determined on a patient-by-patient basis. Generally the incisions for an otoplasty are on the back surface of the ear. On occasion an incision is needed on the front surface of the ear and it is made in the folds so as to be less visible. Once the incision is made, the cartilage is reduced and reshaped to the desired look. The incisions are closed and a bulky dressing and head wrap are applied.
Where will my ear surgery be performed?
Dr. Johnson has privileges at Baystate Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center. Both are accredited by the Joint Commission and have been awarded the Gold Seal of Approval, and both are conveniently located in Springfield, MA.
Are there risks involved with ear surgery?
Yes, there are risks with any surgical procedure. Some of the possible risks with an otoplasty are pain, infection, bruising, swelling, wound healing complications, bleeding, numbness of the skin, asymmetry of the ears, unsatisfactory results or scars that may require a revision surgery.
What is the recovery process for otoplasty?
The first few days you may have discomfort or a pressure feeling of the ears. The extent of what is performed determines the amount of discomfort that you may experience. You are sent home on pain medications which will decrease your discomfort. You will have bruising and swelling of the ears. We will see you about 3-5 days after surgery to remove the dressing and evaluate your healing process. We request that you do no strenuous exercise for at least four weeks after surgery.
Will my insurance cover ear surgery?
No. An otoplasty is done to improve the appearance of the ears and is generally not covered by insurance carriers. It Is generally considered a cosmetic procedure
Can I finance my ear surgery?
What forms of payment are accepted?
We accept all major credit cards, debit cards, cash, money orders, and certified bank checks, or you can finance through CareCredit.
Can I make payments online?
Yes. You can make credit card payments securely online.