Ear Surgery

Providing Adults & Children With Proportionate, Balanced Ears

If protruding or poorly shaped ears bother you or your child, you may consider ear surgery — also known as otoplasty—as a potential solution. Otoplasty can improve the proportion, position, or shape of the ear. It can also correct a defect in the ear structure that was present at birth, and it can treat ears misshapen as a result of an injury. Ear surgery can bring balance and proportion to the ears and face. Correction of even minor deformities can have immense benefits to appearance and self-esteem.
Specifically, ear surgery can treat:
  • Protruding ears present on one or both sides of the face
  • Enlarged ears
  • Adult dissatisfaction with previous ear surgery
Otoplasty is usually performed when a patient’s ears protrude away from their head excessively.

Correcting Many Types of Ear Asymmetry

Ear surgery is one of the few cosmetic procedures that can be performed on children as young as five years old, with many parents opting to have ear surgery performed on their children in order to protect them from being a subject of ridicule in school. Ear deformities occur as a result of numerous conditions. Weak or poorly formed ear cartilage can cause small, absent (microtia), or protruding ears. Unpleasant deformities of the ear also occur due to injury (e.g. trauma or dog bite). Deformity of the ears may cause social anxiety and may make children vulnerable to teasing. Regardless of the origin of the ear deformity, Dr. Joubin Gabbay, M.D. can correct these ear conditions during an otoplasty procedure. Ear surgeries do not alter the patient’s hearing, but they may improve one’s appearance and self-confidence.
Common surgical techniques employed during ear surgery include:
  • Rib Graft: utilizes your body’s own biological tissues (rib cartilage and skin) to reshape or reconstruct the ears
  • Medpor: this technique uses a synthetic material consisting of a porous, high-density polyethylene (PHDPE) covered by a skin graft. Although a Medpor framework is not made of living tissue as in the Rib Graft technique, Medpor material does become vascularized as the blood vessels of the living tissue infiltrate the porous holes within the synthetic framework.
  • Soft Tissue: if enough of the deformed ear is present, Soft Tissue Ear Reconstruction may be a better choice than the Rib Graft or Medpor techniques. Soft-tissue reconstruction is an option for children or adults with smaller ears or ears that are folded over.
  • Tissue Expansion: this technique employs the use of a balloon filled with saline to slowly expand the area of skin in the ear region over time
To ensure symmetry and balance, surgery is typically performed on both ears, even when only one appears to protrude. Cosmetic ear surgery takes approximately 2-3 hours, although the duration of the surgery and the surgical technique used will depend on the nature of each patient’s case. Local, intravenous, or general anesthesia will be administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure, and Dr. Gabbay will work with you to select the best choice for your surgery. During your ear surgery, Dr. Gabbay will use surgical techniques to create or increase the antihelical fold (located just inside the rim of the ear) and to diminish distended conchal cartilage (the primary and deepest concavity of the external ear). Incisions for otoplasty are usually made on the back surface of the ear; however, if incisions are necessary on the front of the ear, they will be made within the folds of the ear, in order to disguise them. Internal, non-removable sutures will be utilized in order to create and secure your newly re-shaped ear cartilage.

During recovery from your otoplasty surgery, you will be asked to wear a headband during sleep to protect the surgical correction for the first 2-3 weeks. Patients can resume normal activities approximately two weeks after otoplasty surgery, although complete healing of the wounds and reduction of swelling may take 6-12 weeks. If you would like more information about ear surgery, please contact us and we will be happy to answer any and all of your questions, and to schedule an initial, complimentary consultation with Dr. Gabbay. You may also click the link below to read a more in-depth description of the otoplasty procedure.

If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living.
- Gail Sheehy

Is Otoplasty Right for You?

Ear surgery (otoplasty), is generally performed to reduce the size of overly large ears, or to set prominent ears back closer to the head. Ear surgery can be performed on children and adults and is indicated for a number of ear-related issues, including:
  • Protruding or overly large ears
  • Prominent ear deformity
  • Stahl’s ear deformity: abnormal pointing of the top of the ear
  • Earlobe ptosis or sagging
  • Earlobe cleft: a split in the earlobe due to prolonged earring use
  • Reconstruction after traumatic injuries
  • Reshaping a folded or cauliflower ear deformity
  • Improving unbalanced or asymmetrical ears
  • Cupped ears: disproportionately small ears
  • Lop ear: ear tip folds downward and forward
  • Shell ear: a curve in the outer rim, as well as the natural folds and creases of the ear, are missing
  • Disproportionately large or stretched earlobes, or earlobes with wrinkles or creases
  • Missing Ears: ears can be constructed for those who were born without them or who lost them through injury

Determining Good Candidates for Ear Surgery

If you are interested in learning more about ear surgery, please call us and let us schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Gabbay. During your meeting, Dr. Gabbay will discuss your overall expectations and aesthetic goals, in order to determine whether otoplasty is a suitable option for you.

You should come to your consultation prepared to discuss your medical history (including any past surgeries), present medical conditions, allergies, and medications. It is imperative that you are honest and provide complete information, as numerous medical conditions can potentially increase the risks and complications associated with surgery. If Dr. Gabbay feels that you are a good candidate for ear surgery, he will explain the different techniques, costs and potential side effects before scheduling your procedure. When choosing Dr. Gabbay, you can be assured that you are in the hands of a surgeon who has undergone extensive training and is highly esteemed by his colleagues and patients alike.
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About the Procedure

Otoplasty is typically performed as a 2-3 hour outpatient procedure under general anesthesia; however, the exact details of the surgery will depend upon the ear deformity that needs correction. During the surgery, Dr. Gabbay will make an incision in the crease behind the ear where the ear is joined to the head. He will then sculpt and fold the ear to a more aesthetically desirable shape, before using sutures to secure the cartilage into position (in rare cases, Dr. Gabbay will remove cartilage to improve the ear shape). To ensure symmetry and balance, surgery is typically performed on both ears, even when only one appears to protrude. Earlobe reduction can be performed during the same surgery as the earlobe reshaping, or as a separate procedure. If earlobe reduction is the only procedure required to correct the ear deformity, it can be performed under local anesthesia and requires no downtime.
During your recovery from ear surgery, you will be asked to wear a headband as you sleep for the first 2-3 weeks, in order to protect the surgical correction. Soft dressings applied to your ears will remain for a few days, and most patients experience mild discomfort that can be easily controlled with pain medication. If you are used to sleeping on your side, your sleep patterns may be disrupted for at least one week because you will not be allowed to put any pressure on your ear areas. Patients can resume normal activities approximately two weeks after otoplasty surgery, although complete wound healing and the abatement of swelling may take 6-12 weeks. Patients can engage in exercise 2-3 weeks after the procedure; however, contact sports should be avoided for 6-8 weeks. Although rare, complications that have been reported with any ear surgery include infection, bleeding, relapse of the ear shape, and mild ear asymmetry.

Our Beverly Hills ear surgery expert can help you to achieve balance in your facial features. Call (310) 205-9500 today to learn more!

Gabbay Plastic Surgery
465 N. Roxbury DriveSuite 1001
Beverly Hills, CA 90210