What is the best age for ear surgery?
Most plastic surgeons, myself included, agree that six years of age is the minimum age to be a candidate for an otoplasty (ear surgery).
- By the age of six, growth and development of the ear is about 90% complete and so surgery would not impair future growth.
- Under the age of six most children are not ready to comply with the restrictions on activity for the first few weeks after surgery. However, if at the age of six your child is not self-conscious about his or her ears, it is reasonable to wait until it becomes a concern. It is never too late to have an Otoplasty and I have operated on many adults in their twenties and thirties with a very high satisfaction rate.
Does insurance pay for ear surgery?
Unfortunately, most insurance companies consider an otoplasty, the correction of prominent or protruding ears, to be a cosmetic procedure that is not covered by health insurance. The reasons given for this exclusion vary among the different insurance plans, but in general their stance is that it is a cosmetic change that is not related to function.
The position of the insurance companies regretfully ignores the psychological impact of this abnormality. However, we have been able to work with surgery centers to offer an affordable flat fee for the operating room costs and the anesthesia so that an otoplasty can be an option for most families.
Is an otoplasty permanent?
An otoplasty is designed to be permanent. The protruding "wings" of the ears are folded back into a normal contour and held in place with permanent stitches. These stitches are also supported by internal scar tissue, which further stabilizes the correction. Uncommonly one of the ears may spring back because of the natural memory of the cartilage in the ear. If this does happen, it can be easily corrected.
What are the risks of an otoplasty?
Although otoplasty complications rarely happen, it's still a good idea to be aware of them before you have the procedure. The two types of risks are:
- General risks associated with all surgery — adverse reaction to the anesthetic used, undue bleeding, infection, and scarring. Otoplasty scars are hidden in the fold behind each ear and are usually not noticeable.
- Specific risks associated with otoplasty — asymmetry, over correction, and a relapse of the original deformity. Fortunately these risks are uncommon and if they do occur, they can be corrected.
What are the restrictions after an otoplasty?
During the first week, patients wear a wrap-around dressing, which helps mold the new shape of the ears. During the second week after the dressing is removed, an elastic sports band is worn over the ears while at home and in bed. During the third week, the sports band is worn only to bed. It is while you are asleep that the risk is greatest of bending the ear outward and thus undoing the repair.
After the third week, there are no restrictions except for high-risk contact sports, such as football and soccer, which should be avoided for the first six weeks after surgery.
For more information about ear surgery, please contact Renaissance Plastic Surgery online or call 317-575-9152 today. You can have a look at our Indianapolis and Carmel, Indiana, facilities, meet the staff, and speak with Dr. Fata. We hope to hear from you.