1206 Somerville Rd
Decatur, AL 35603
The basic goal of otoplasty is to reconstruct the ear so it lies at a normal distance away from the head. The deformity of ears sticking out far from the head is called prominent ears. It is a congenital problem that has to do with the improper formation of the folds in the ears while a fetus. It can be very embarrassing to children with the deformity. There can be one or two things that are incorrect with the ear anatomy that can cause this prominence. Therefore, the deformity of the ear must be properly evaluated so that the reconstructive plan is correct and a proper correction is obtained. This operation can be performed on children as young as 6 years old and then all the way up to adults. The deformity can be on both sides or only one side.
Otoplasty can be covered by insurance companies because it is a congenital deformity of the ears. In almost all cases I can get the insurance companies to approve this surgery with proper photographic documentation and with writing the appropriate letter. This is true whether we are seeking the approval for children or adults.
During your initial consultation we will discuss all of the aspects of the operation and how it relates to you. We will have a second visit that is the pre-operative visit where I will answer all of your final questions, write the prescriptions for the medicines you will need after the surgery and you will do your pre-operative visit at the hospital.
The otoplasty operation is done as an outpatient procedure or day-surgery at Decatur Morgan Hospital using general anesthesia. It is done in the main operating rooms at Decatur Morgan Hospital and takes just over 2 hours to perform if repairing both sides. We do the operation in the morning and you will get discharged to home late in the afternoon. You will go home with a special firm ear muff type dressing to protect the ears. It is crucial that for 10 days prior to your surgery you do not take any aspirin, arthritis or other muscle ache pain medicines. These medicines will make you bruise more and can lead to other complications. The ONLY pain or headache medicine that is safe to take is Tylenol (acetaminophen) because this does not affect blood clotting and bleeding.
All patients are unique and the response to post-operative discomfort is variable. Most children tolerate the operation very well and have very little complaint of discomfort. Some patients take the narcotic medicine only the first night and then switch to Tylenol for pain. As I said, patients are all unique and their pain tolerance is very different.
I will remove the skin sutures in the office 5 or 6 days after the surgery. Removing the sutures pinches a little and gently holding the ears forward so I can get to the sutures can be a little uncomfortable.
Children in school need to be out of school for at least 3 to 4 days unless part of the postoperative time includes a weekend. Some parents and children prefer to be out of school until their sutures are out, which occurs on the fifth or sixth day after the surgery. After otoplasties you can wash your hair 3 days after the surgery. At that point soapy water will not hurt the stitches. Children cannot participate in physical education or sports for 1 month after the surgery.
For adults that have a desk job that does not require any heavy lifting you should expect to be away from work for 4 to 6 days. The firm ear dressing comes off 2 days after surgery and you can shower the day after the dressings are off. For a job that requires physical exertion or heavy lifting you should expect to be away from work for 1 to 2 weeks depending on your exact job description and the conditions at your work place. The need to wear construction helmets or eye protective goggles can be discussed with me on an individual basis.
By one week from the surgery you will have some minor residual swelling but very little bruising in the front of the ear. The ears will be sore when you lay them on a pillow for about 3 weeks.
You will need to come to the office 2 days after your surgery for removal of the firm ear dressings. Adults should arrange for someone to drive you to this appointment because you may still be on narcotic medications and you may feel uncomfortable driving with the firm ear dressing s in place. At this first postoperative visit I will remove the firm ear dressings and give you further instructions on how to protect your ears. You can shower the next day. Your next office visit will be 5 to 6 days after your surgery and I will then remove your sutures and give you further instructions on how to protect your ears. Your next appointment will be in a couple of weeks and at 1 month from the surgery I can release children back to physical education and sports activities. I will see you approximately 6 months and 12 months after your surgery and do a final assessment of your result, assess the quality of your scars and get your final opinion on the surgery.
As discussed in the above sections, you can shower daily beginning 24 hours after your dressing are removed. Children can be release back to physical education and sports activities after 1 month.