In humans, the ear grows with the rest of the child’s structures through early childhood. By age 6, the ear is roughly 90% of its adult size and the shape becomes more formalized. Therefore ears that are prominent or altered in appearance at this point tend to stay that way unless surgically altered. Otoplasty is the term used to describe the different techniques utilized to reshape the prominent ear. In fact, the process is quite straightforward and in teen or adult cases can even be done in a clinic using only local anesthesia.
Otoplasty first requires careful analysis of the existing ear structure in order to determine the reason for a divergence from the norm. In some cases, the cartilage “bowl” of the ear is overdeveloped, pushing the entire ear framework away from the scalp. In other cases, a normal fold in the upper part of the ear is weak or absent, canting only the top of the ear away from the skin. Most cases have components of both factors. Finally in a small fraction of otoplasty cases, true malformations of cartilage make the ear contracted or cupped. Initial evaluation identifies the underlying structure and develops an individualized plan to expertly correct the cartilage. The incision is hidden behind the ear and a protective dressing is only required for one day, so patients enjoy minimal downtime and rapid recovery. Surgical finesse also ensures soft restructuring of the cartilage and earlobe to restore a completely natural contour. The result of otoplasty is a restoration to normal ear positions that allow the focus of attention to return on a bright youthful face