How is otoplasty performed?

 Except in children, the operation is performed using light sleep anesthesia.  In children less than 8 years, the operation is always performed under general anesthesia.  All incisions are placed behind the ear so there are no visible scars after the operation.  If the ears are protruding they may be rotated back.  If some of the natural folds are missing they are created.  Missing or abnormal sections of the ear may be constructed from tissues taken from other parts of the ear or from other areas of the body.  Ears that have been injured, most commonly in wrestling, and are thickened can be thinned and sculpted.  At the end of the operation a pressure dressing is worn.

The operation is mostly performed in children around age 6.  The child generally follows instructions well because he/she is so happy to have the problem repaired and pleased with the results.

Is it quite painful? Is there much bruising?

It takes about a week and a half for most of the swelling to subside, although it will be sensitive to light to medium pressure for about 3 weeks. There is really not much bruising with average cases, although it should be looked upon as individual. Some are prone to bruising more than others. Some doctors prescribe a pharmaceutical grade Arnica montana product called SinEcch  and a topical ointment as well. These two products are thought to decrease both bruising and swelling in all procedures and in most cases have shown a significant decrease in both complaints. There is normally very little pain involved post-operatively. Also look into Bromelain.

What are the risks of otoplasty?

The risks of the operation are bleeding and infection.  Both are exceedingly rare.  With proper post-operative care this is a very safe and satisfying operation that carries very little risk, beautiful results, and almost no discomfort from the operation itself.

The patient should note that the ears can often feel numb for 2 to 3 months after the operation.  The sensation returns slowly over that time.  This is the reason that there is generally no pain in the post-operative period.  This fact makes the operation exceptionally well tolerated in children.

What is Arnica montana, I have heard that it reduces swelling and bruising? Which is the best kind to take?

Also known as: Mountain Tobacco, Mountain Arnica, Common Arnica, Leopard's Bane and Sneezewort

Plant family: Asteraceae

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Parts used: Roots and flowers

Description: Arnica montana or Leopard's Bane is a perennial herb, growing close to the ground. The leaves form a flat rosette, from the center of which rises a flower stalk, 1 to 2 feet high, bearing orange-yellow flowers. The rhizome is dark brown, cylindrical, usually curved, and bears brittle wiry rootlets on the under surface.

Habitat: Indigenous to Central Europe, in woods and mountain pastures, although it has been found in England and Southern Scotland.

Warning: This herb should NEVER be taken in raw form. This plant, like many medicinal plants if ingested, can cause intestinal bleeding, abdominal cramping and sickness. Homeopathy is the medicinal use of tinctures and suspensions using herbs and other plants and should never be consumed without proper preparation. Only respectable homeopathic remedies and tinctures should be consumed.

What is otoplasty?

Otoplasty is the repair of abnormalities of the external portion of the ear and is a very commonly requested operation. The results are very satisfying to the patient and family and often the outlook of the patient will change dramatically after the operation. This is particularly true with children. When ears protrude notably or are abnormal in some way, children are often teased by their peers. They are general self-conscious and in some instances are shy and introverted solely due to the constant teasing of their friends. Adults will often wear their hair in ways that will hide the ears. Many mothers have recounted how the personality of their child has blossomed after otoplasty. Some have noted an improvement in school grades.

What should I expect post-operatively?

The pressure dressing is removed after 5-7 days. Children should be kept relatively quiet during that time. The dressing should not get wet. After removal of the dressing, a sweat band should be worn, at night only, to protect the ears until the end of the sixth post-operative week. Normal non-strenuous activity may be resumed two days after surgery. The patient should refrain from bending over for 3 weeks, keeping the head higher than the heart during that time. Nor should the patient sleep on his side for 3 weeks. Routine exercise may begin at the end of the fourth post-operative week. Contact sports may be restarted at the end of the sixth post-operative week.

When will I be able to see the results?s

You shouldn't even peek at it for 5 to 7 days until the pressure dressing is removed. If you do, it could increase infection or the results may be altered by your tampering. Abide by your doctor's instructions and do not attempt to remove the bandages unless he/she specifically instructs it. After your dressings are removed you will see an immediate difference in the protuberance of the ear. Even though there will be some residual swelling, the results are generally very satisfying to the patient.

Where are the incisions made?

The incisions will generally be made in the most inconspicuous places such as behind the ear or within the natural folds and curvatures of the ear structure. Discuss with your doctor the incisions he plans on making for your desired results. Some removal of cartilage may be necessary.
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