Ear & Earlobe Surgery
Otoplasty or pinning of the ears is a procedure that serves to correct overly prominent or protruding ears. This is one of Dr. Hammond’s favorite procedures because of the significant difference it can make with self-esteem. Often times, kids with protruding ears complain of significant teasing and/or bullying throughout their childhood. This can lead to feelings of insecurity and a lack of self-confidence.
There are great emotional benefits to an otoplasty procedure. Whether your young or older, otoplasty can increase your self-confidence, increase your self-esteem and decreases negative attention. Correction of protruding ears can be done early in childhood before any teasings may start. The growth of the ear reaches maturity fairly quickly allowing the otoplasty to be done at 7 years of age. It is never too late to correct protruding ears and Dr. Hammond routinely performs otoplasty on several adults.
Depending upon the specific nature of the ear deformity, some excess cartilage is removed and/or the natural cartilage is re-positioned. The surgery takes approximately 30-45 minutes per ear and is usually done in our outpatient surgery center with IV anesthesia.
The picture above is one of my favorite patients. I performed otoplasty on this young man when he was about 9 years old. The impact that it had on he and his parent’s lives were outstanding. His ears look great!
The picture above shows an ear pinning that was done on a young lady who always wore her hair over her ears to hide them. Now she wears her hair up all the time. Another excellent outcome.
The Surgical Procedure
There are two main reasons for a protruding ear:
#1 – The first is the lack of an Antihelical Fold. This fold is seen in the pictures below. When this fold is missing or is flat, the ear tends to protrude out away from the skull. Correction of a flat Antihelical Fold is done with a Mustarde’ procedure. The cartilage on the back of the ear is weakened and sutures are then used to develop the fold. This procedure is all done from an incision behind the ear so there is no visible scarring.
#2 – Excessive Ear Cartilage. The picture below shows a protruding ear that is due to extra cartilage associated with the conchal bowl. The extra cartilage pushes the ear away from the skull. The excessive cartilage is removed with the Davis procedure. The Davis procedure is also done with an incision on the back side of the ear which hides the scar nicely.
Excessive Conchal Bowl Cartilage
Blue tracing represents the excessive conchal bowl cartilage to be removed during the Davis procedure
Most ears that are protruding need both the Mustarde’ and the Davis procedure. There are relatively few cases in which Dr. Hammond just does just the Mustarde’ or just the Davis procedure alone. By doing both procedures the ear can be brought back into a normal position and there is almost never any relapse. It may take a slight bit more time to do both procedures but Dr. Hammond will not compromise because he wants the absolute best surgical outcome. This is one of his absolute favorite procedures because it can make a big difference in how you feel about yourself.
Earlobe Damage from Earlobe Gauges
Dr. Hammond has extensive experience in repairing stretched out earlobes. Gauges can be cool for a while but sometimes are deemed unacceptable. The most common reason for repair is because the person is entering the military or a new job.
Repair of the stretched earlobe is relatively straightforward and is usually done under a local anesthetic. However, some patients prefer to good to sleep. A portion of the stretched earlobe is removed and the remaining lobe is stitched together. The sutures stay in place for a week to 10 days. The lobes may be swollen for a few days up to a week. There usually is only mild discomfort after the surgery. Most people are back to work within a day or two.
Repair of Torn Earlobes
Elongation of the ear piercing and/or a torn lobe is a common finding. With the larger and heavy earrings that are worn, it is not a wonder why we see the lobe deformities. Lobe repair is a fairly straightforward procedure and is usually done under a local anesthetic. It takes about 15 min per ear to fix. The only downside to earlobe repair is that the earlobes should not be pierced for several months after the lobe is repaired. To early piercing may cause enlargement of the hole again. Clip on earrings can be worn several weeks after the lobes have been repaired.