Long lasting sutures are used to shape the ear in otoplasty
Usually several permanent or slowly dissolving sutures are placed to fold the ear cartilage into position and hold it securely until healing is complete, at about 6 weeks. Occasionally recurrent protrusion occurs, but can be corrected at a later time.
Otoplasty candidate for folding back ear cartilage
The reason that patients have prominent ears is because of the lack of anti-helical fold in the ear. The otoplasty procedure involves creating the anti-helical fold and suturing it together with permanent sutures. The otoplasty operation is performed under local anesthesia as an outpatient surgical procedure
When the cartilage is folded back to create an antihelical fold, is it held in that position forever?
It can be taken that with the use of non-absorbable sutures, the new shape of the antihelix will be held in that position forever by these sutures. There are, however, rare cases where the ear partly or fully returns to its original position. In these cases it can be assumed that the sutures have cut into the cartilage and thereby lost their function. If there is a thread intolerance and the threads are rejected, then one must also reckon with the ears returning to the original position. The threads will then have to be replaced by threads of another chemical composition.
When I do this procedure, I use "permanent" suture material. I also Score the lining of the anterior surface of the cartilage to weaken the resistance to folding. It is my opinion that a great deal, perhaps sometimes all, of the shape is help by the scar in the long run. BUT...for sure this is not always true as sometimes the deformity may try to recur if a stitch breaks or is removed.