Surgery to reduce the size of the ear, a situation popularly called ‘protruding ear’, is a type of plastic surgery that helps to improve the shape and positioning of the ears, making them more proportional to the face.
Although this surgery is widely used to correct aesthetic changes, it can also be done to treat birth defects in the ear canal or other structures of the ear, in order to improve hearing.
In the case of prominent ears, surgery can be done after 5 years of age, as it is when the cartilage stops growing, there is no risk of the problem reoccurring after surgery. However, as otoplasty is usually a very specific process for each person, its need should always be assessed with the doctor.
The value of otoplasty surgery can vary between 3 and 5 thousand reais, depending on the complexity of the process, the surgeon selected and the necessary exams. The surgery can also be done free of charge by the SUS, however, they are usually only considered people who are presenting psychological changes caused by the visual alteration of the ears.
How is the surgery done
Otoplasty can be done using local anesthesia, but in most cases, it is done under general anesthesia, especially in children, in order to reduce stress. After anesthesia, the surgeon:
- Make small cuts on the back of the ear;
- Creates a new fold in the ear to allow it to join the head;
- Removes excess cartilage , if necessary;
- Suture closes cuts .
In some people, the doctor may also need to make cuts on the front of the ear, but in these cases, the cuts are usually made under the natural folds of the ear, allowing the scars to remain invisible.
The results of this type of surgery are usually almost immediate and can be seen as soon as the plaster, which is placed after the surgery, is removed.
How is recovery
The recovery from otoplasty in most cases, lasts up to 2 weeks, but it is already possible to return to daily activities and work about 3 days later. During this period, some discomfort and pain may also arise, so it is very important to take all the mediation prescribed by the surgeon.
In addition, it is still very important to keep the tape that was placed on the surgery, and should only be removed by the doctor in one of the review visits that take place during the first week. Therefore, you should avoid taking a shower or washing your hair, as it can wet the tape, and it is recommended to wash only the body.
Although the most important phase of recovery is the first two weeks, the swelling of the ears will only disappear completely after 3 months, with the final result being revealed, but it is not much different from what can already be seen after the adhesive patch is removed.
Main risks of surgery
This surgery is quite safe, but like any other type of surgery, it can have some risks such as:
- Loss of skin sensitivity in the region;
- Allergies to dressing.
In addition, there is also a risk that the ears may not be completely symmetrical or as expected, especially if the tape is removed without medical advice. In these chaos, it may be necessary to have a second, minor surgery to correct the defects that still persist.