Ear Surgery

Procedure: 1 hour
Recovery: 7-10 days

If you or your children have ears that protrude or are misshapen, cosmetic surgery may be an option. Dr. O’Brien performs otoplasties, also known as ear surgery or ear pinning, on children ages 4 to 14; but adults may undergo this procedure as well.

What is Otoplasty?

Otoplasty can correct ear conditions such as protruding ears, abnormally large ear lobes, lop ear (in which the tip folds down and bends forward), and shell ear (in which certain features of a normal ear are missing).

Am I a good candidate for Otoplasty?

Each patient’s circumstances require individual analysis by Dr. O’Brien for reconstruction. Because there are many procedures for the many different types of constrictive ear deformity, surgery can be relatively simple or more involved.

The surgery lasts about two to three hours, depending on how complex the procedure for your case is. It may take longer than three hours if the procedure you need is very involved. Ask Dr. O’Brien for details about what your case requires.

If you are an adult, Dr. O’Brien probably will use local anesthesia with a sedative. A child will likely receive general anesthesia (be put to sleep) to ensure that he or she cannot move around during the operation.

In most cases, the procedure can be done in Dr. O’Brien’s St. Petersburg office. Dress comfortably, and wear a collar-less shirt that you do not have to pull over your head.

Most health insurance companies cover otoplasty surgery if it will solve a functional problem, such as a hearing impairment, or to correct a deformity or congenital abnormality. If the procedure is being done for cosmetic reasons only, it may not be covered at all. In that case, ask Dr. O’Brien about the costs and payment options.

How long is recovery from otoplasty?

You should plan to stay home at least one week after the surgery. Children should stay home from school for at least one week.

Your head will be bandaged before you are sent home. You will probably wear the bandages for three days. Dr. O’Brien may provide you with a headband-type dressing, which you may have to wear for up to three weeks to promote proper healing.

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