Reconstructive Ear Surgery

A patient suffering from injury or trauma to the ears or a congenital defect may feel self-conscious about his or her appearance. Fortunately, help is available; reconstructive ear surgery can correct both cosmetic and medical deformities of the outer ear and restore a patient’s self-confidence, in addition to improving his or her hearing. There are different types of reconstructive ear procedures, depending on the defect being treated.

Trauma

Those with damage to the ears resulting from an accident or injury (such as a burn, laceration or torn piercing) are often viable candidates for reconstructive ear surgery. The type of surgery, and its success, depends on the severity of the trauma and may range from a simple outpatient procedure to a total ear reconstruction that takes months. Your best bet is to seek immediate medical attention following any type of trauma to the ears.

Individuals who have suffered trauma to the ears, and those born with defects, can often benefit from reconstructive ear surgery. Known as reconstructive otoplasty, this procedure is used to correct medical and cosmetic deformities of the outer ears, helping to restore self-confidence and improve hearing ability.

Otoplasty

Prominent ears are those that protrude abnormally. One or both ears may be affected. The condition is often inherited. A procedure called an otoplasty is used to improve the shape, position or proportion of the ears, and can be used to correct defects such as prominent or unusually large ears. This surgery involves an incision behind the ears and the removal of skin and cartilage to reshape the ears. Sutures are used to “pin” them into place, if necessary.

Ear Lobe Reduction & Repair

Body piercing has been popular for decades, and continues to attract both men and women. Normally when skin is punctured, the hole closes on its own and heals without a sign. When the earlobes are pierced, an earring is put in immediately to prevent the hole from closing. Over time, skin will grow into the hole and line the internal surface of the puncture. Once this happens, the hole may shrink, but is unable to completely close, even with the piercing removed.

Regular ear piercings can become cosmetically unappealing to some people. Worse still is the increasingly common practice called gauged earlobe stretching. This involves the use of expanders, known as gauges, to stretch the earlobe wide enough to insert increasingly larger decorative plugs. This can cause thinning and distortion of the earlobe tissues, and lead to permanent damage.

Patients with ear piercings – especially those who wear gauged earrings – often come to regret their decision afterwards. Surgery to close earlobe holes is possible, but tricky; gauge earring defects require new tissue in order to close the hole. Suturing it shut would result in an earlobe with an abnormal contour, so tissue is recruited from other areas of the earlobe in what is known as a local flap reconstruction. The procedure is generally performed in an outpatient setting using local anesthesia.
Sutures to close the skin should remain in place for several days afterwards before being removed. Some swelling is common and to be expected, but that should go away after a few days.

Lacerations of the earlobe cause both pain and embarrassment, as the injury typically involves cartilage that is difficult to repair due to its shape and complexity. Patients with ear lobe lacerations often suffer from a lack of confidence, not to mention a reduction in hearing capability. Ear lobe laceration repair is often quite successful in improving both form and function, restoring confidence and improving the patient’s hearing.

Congenital Defects

Reconstructive otoplasty can be a boon to people suffering from microtia, a birth defect that results in undeveloped ears; the condition can be either unilateral, affecting one ear or bilateral, affecting both. Because the ears are underdeveloped, hearing loss is often associated with this condition. Reconstruction of the ear canals or surgically implanted hearing aids can drastically improve hearing.

Call (913) 663-5100 for more information or to schedule an appointment.