Ear surgery (otoplasty) is performed to correct prominent or ‘bat’ ears or to reduce the size of large ears. Otoplasty is possible at any age, but it is often recommended for children aged five or six. Correcting the ears before the child enters school can help eliminate potential teasing and psychological trauma. Ear surgery can improve the position of your ears and overall appearance, as well as confidence and self-esteem.
The ears are positioned closer to the head by reshaping the cartilage. The cartilage is reshaped through incisions placed behind the ears or within ear creases so that any resulting scars are concealed. Most ear surgery is performed as day surgery under general anaesthesia. The procedure takes one to two hours. Any stitches are usually dissolvable.
Recovery from Ear Surgery
You should be up and about on the day of ear surgery but plan on taking it easy for the first week. You should be able to return to work or school five to six days after surgery. Any pain can be easily controlled by medication. A full head dressing covering both ears is usually left intact for five days after surgery. After it is removed, you may have a lukewarm shower and wash your hair.
Frequently Asked Questions
Otoplasty is possible at any age and is often performed in adults. For children ear surgery is often recommended between the ages of five or six. Correcting the ears before the child enters school can help eliminate potential teasing and psychological trauma.
Ear surgery is performed in a private, accredited hospital under general anaesthetic with a qualified anaesthetist and usually take approximately 1.5 hours. You can go home the same day but will require someone to pick you up to care for you at least overnight and take you to Silkwood for your post-op appointments.
The scars from an otoplasty are difficult to detect as they are typically placed behind the ear or in ear creases for concealment.
Dr Nettle’s surgical fee is approximately $6,000. This does not include the assistant fee, anaesthetist fee or hospital fee.
This procedure may attract an item number from Medicare which allows you to claim a rebate. If you have the appropriate level of health insurance cover, they may pay for your theatre and accomodation fees. The Medicare item number is 45659.
Children can be teased by their classmates for having ears that stick out from the head too much. It is true that this can be an inherited feature from parents or grandparents but it is often an individual characteristic. It occurs in both males and females, but it is more obvious for boys as they generally have shorter hair and cannot hide their ears so easily.
It is possible to tape the ears of babies back to the head soon after they are born with sticking plaster to encourage the ears to develop a curve that places them closer to the head so they won’t protrude so much. This is commonly performed in some countries and these children, at a later age, have less need for corrective ear surgery than occurs in Australia.
You can expect your ears to be fairly symmetrical after the procedure, however, keep in mind that perfect symmetry is unnatural and the goal is to achieve harmony rather than perfection.
You will be seen within 5 – 6 days of your surgery for removal of bandages. Following this, appointments will be made on an individual basis. We usually see you again 1 month and then 2 months after surgery.
You will be given a Plastic Surgery Recovery guide upon booking your surgery. This document explains in great detail all of your after care following surgery.