Bat Ear Correction
‘Otoplasty’ is a procedure designed to correct deformed or protruding ears by first correcting the shape (if necessary) and then aligning the ears closer to the head. The surgery can be applied to children as young as six years of age.
A local anaesthetic is usually used to correct a deformed or protruding ear, although general anaesthesia is preferred for children. An oval-shaped incision is made in the crease behind the ear, before removing some skin to expose the cartilage. The folds of the ear (the helix and the anti-helix) are then reshaped. Sutures are most commonly used to support the cartilage and realign the top of the ear closer to the head. The next step involves setting the entire ear closer to the head by weakening some of the cartilage by making a series of incisions into the cartilage and suturing into the new position. The incisions are then closed and the ears are covered with a dressing. An otoplasty patient should be able to return home the same day. Bandages will be replaced with a lighter dressing a few days post surgery and external stitches will be removed within a week.
Risks and Complications
As with any plastic surgery, otoplasty does carry (minimal) risk. Complications include:
- hematoma (localised swelling caused by accumulation of blood in the ear cartilage, requiring removal). The risk during otoplasty is considered low
- infection in the ear cartilage
- keloid development (a thick scar that grows larger than the original scar). The risk is more prevalent among African-Americans
- overcorrection of the ears, positioning them too close to the head
- suture loosening, which may cause the ear to return to its original position.
Standard hospital procedure requires that your surgeon perform laboratory investigations and/or diagnostic examinations to ensure that you are fit for surgery, prior to hospital admission and surgery.
Time required: One to two hours
Anaesthesia: Local with sedation, or general anaesthesia
- Throbbing & aching to ears
Back to school/work: Children within seven days and adults within five to seven days
More strenuous activity: Avoid for one month or more
Final appearance: One week
Note: This information acts as a guide to your possible treatment. Your individual concerns and specific medical history will need to be shared and discussed with your surgeon during your initial consultation.