Otoplasty - Ear Surgery
Otoplasties, sometimes called ear pin-backs, involve removal of a portion of the conchal bowl. Stick your finger in your ear and feel the round little area just inside. This firm area is made up of cartilage, called the conchal bowl. The contour of this cartilage is what determines the prominence of the ears. The bowl may be too deep of the normal curvature ill-defined. By surgically creating natural contours, the outer ear assumes a more pleasing shape that is closer to the head. But there is a trick to it. The surgery involved in respositioning prominent ears is very dependent of the surgeon's judgement and skill. It is difficult to avoid uneven results, particularly as the ears often start off disproportionately. Are you ever too old for an otoplasty? Not really. The ear cartilage responds to surgical shaping at any age. Typically by age five there is enough growth to the ear to perform surgery. And it's frequently done simultaneous with facelift surgery. According to Dr. Szachowicz, there aren't any real alternatives besides double-stick tape. For adults and children, permanently changing the shape of the ears is a matter of surgery. The formed ear cartilage cannot be "trained" into position by tapes or bands or other devices. In the newborn, however, there is an exception. During the first few days of life, the infant has it's mother's hormones still circulating in the blood. The same hormones which soften the mother's pelvis and allow the baby to pass through the birth canal are present in the baby system. This estrogen causes the ear cartilage to be extremely soft and pliable. "A compression dressing during these first few days of life has been shown to successfully reposition deformed ears", says Dr. Szachowicz.