If your ears stuck out further than your classmates’ as a child, you no doubt suffered some unpleasant name-calling during your school years.
This type of appearance-related bullying can result in a big knock to your confidence and can stick with you for years. In fact, you probably still try to hide your ears with hair or hats, right?
The good news is ear correction surgery (otoplasty) is more affordable, quicker and safer than ever before. It’s also far more common – people realise that seeking surgery to ‘normalise’ their ears does not make them ‘vain’; they simply want to feel confident about their appearance.
If you, too, long for the freedom to wear your hair up without worrying about your ears or want to be able to face the camera with confidence, read on to discover more about undergoing ear surgery at Ocean Clinic Marbella…
Why do ears stick out?
Many people with ears that stick out presume their ears are simply ‘too big’ for their head, but this is rarely actually the case.
There are two reasons why ears project too far from the head. The first is an excess of cartilage behind the ear that pushes the ear forward.
The second cause is when the ear is missing a fold called the anti-helical fold. This results in a flat ear that projects outwards.
Are the ears ‘pinned back’ as part of the surgery?
Otoplasty is often described colloquially as ‘having your ears pinned back’ but this is not an accurate description of the surgery. The aim is to reduce the projection of the ears to an optimal angle of 15-20 degrees from the head.
This is achieved by making an incision behind the ear and using sutures to create an anti-helical fold in patients that did not have one before.
In the case of excess cartilage, a portion is removed from the concha area, which allows the ear to be sutured closer to the head, in a more pleasing position.
It is also possible to remodel the size or shape of the ear lobe.
You can watch a video of Ocean Clinic’s Head Surgeon Dr. Kai Kaye carrying out an otoplasty below:
Is otoplasty considered a ‘serious’ surgery?
In most cases otoplasty is a very simple and straightforward surgery that can be carried out using local anesthesia only. The procedure takes around 90-minutes and you can go home straight away afterwards.
Because it is carried out through one single incision behind the ears it is considered minimally invasive, and downtime after surgery is short.
Is ear surgery very painful?
Pain is very mild post-surgery, although painkillers are always prescribed in case they are needed (everyone’s pain threshold is different).
Your ears will be swollen however, and you will be instructed to wear a headband type bandage for two days.
The majority of swelling will have subsided within 72 hours and you may chose to return to work, depending on your hairstyle and work duties. There may also be some bruising.
Within two weeks most patients feel comfortable in social situations and can resume all normal activity. Typically the stitches used to seal the incisions are absorbable and will have dissolved or fallen out by this point.
Swelling should have dissipated completely after three months, revealing your permanent results.
Will I be left with scars?
Because the incisions are placed in the fold between your scalp and ears, scaring is well hidden. Even for people with short haircuts it is unusual to be able to see this scar unless you fold the ear forward.
After the immediate post-op period it should be very difficult to tell that you've had an otoplasty. What’s more, your ears will no longer be the first feature people notice about you!
Can children undergo ear surgery?
Otoplasty can safely be performed on children as young as six. Although this may seem like a young age, playground bullying can begin in infant school and get progressively worse.
Understandably, many parents want to prevent their children from suffering years of torment. Ear surgery for children is consequently regarded more as a reconstructive surgery than a cosmetic one, seeking to bring the ears into ‘normal range’, as opposed to beautify them.