How is Otoplasty Performed?
Otoplasty, the reshaping and repositioning of the external ear, is done on an outpatient basis. Performed skillfully, Otoplasty makes the ears more proportional to the size and shape of the head, as well as pinning it back closer to the head. The procedure generally takes about two hours, or one hour per ear, depending upon the degree of correction that his needed.
Otoplasty begins with an incision just behind the ear, in the natural fold where the ear is joins the head. The actual techniques involved can be categorized as either Cartilage Splitting (Cutting), or Cartilage Sparing.
Cartilage Cutting involves cutting or weakening of the antihelix, helix or cocha. At times a part of the cocha is removed in order to reduce its size, thus lessening the auricular prominence and protrusion. The primary disadvantage of this technique is that the edges of cut cartilage can be felt and even sometimes be visualized.
Cartilage Sparing, popularized by Dr. Mustarde, involves reshaping and repositioning the cartilage via multiple suspension sutures placed through the cartilage. The helix and anti-helix folds are created and the ears are literally pinned back! While this technique avoids the possibility of having visible edges of cut cartilage, it is technically more challenging.
Next, the protrusion of the lobules is addressed. The projection and the size of the lobules can both be adjusted by removing excess skin and/or prominent cartilage.
After reshaping and repositioning the ear cartilages, the excess skin folds behind the ears are removed and the wound closed with sutures.