Professor Ilankovan has vast experience in performing ear reshaping surgery. The majority of the patients are children or adults with prominent ears, where this deformity has been present since birth. However there are patients who have congenital or acquired ear deformities of a more severe degree needing extensive multi stage treatment. The majority of the acquired ear deformities are either after cancer surgery or human bite.
Prominent or protruding ears can be a source of embarrassment and mental anguish for many people, especially children. In the past few decades thousands of individuals have been physically as well as psychologically helped through a surgical procedure called otoplasty. It may be performed on anyone over the age of five or six years old, the age at which ear growth is almost complete. For those children with severely protruding ears, it is recommended that surgery be performed at an early age, before they are subjected to psychological stress related to the condition.
A thorough medical history is taken in order to evaluate the general health of the patient. A careful examination is also conducted. Professor Ilankovan and patient or, in the case of a minor, a family member, discuss how the ears should look and what can realistically be expected. The type of anaesthesia to be used, the procedure and possible risks and complications are also discussed. Photographs are usually taken before and after surgery.
Pre-operative instructions may include the stopping of certain drugs which contain Aspirin for a week before the procedure in order to minimize the possibility of excess bleeding. Patients may be instructed to shampoo their hair the night before surgery.
Major ear defects may need the use of cartilage from the contralateral ear or from the ribs. The latest in ear reconstruction is growing the patient’s own cartilage in the laboratory using a biodegradable scaffolding
Otoplasty can be performed as an outpatient or in hospital, depending on the surgeon′s and patient′s preference. It can be done under general anaesthesia with the patient asleep or under local anaesthesia in which the area is numbed and the patient remains awake.
There are several surgical procedures which are designed to bring the ears closer to the head. A basic procedure involves an incision made at the back of the ear to expose firm, pliable tissue called cartilage. Professor Ilankovan may either fold down the cartilage or use sutures to keep the folds together or remove excess cartilage. After reshaping the cartilage the incisions are closed with small sutures and the ears are covered with bandages. The procedure can take from one to two hours depending upon the extent of surgery.
Pain connected with the surgery is minimal to moderate and is controlled with oral medication. Bandages are removed within a few days but may be replaced with a lighter head dressing. Wearing a tennis headband for a period of time to hold back the ears may also be recommended. Bruising around the area occurs but fades within a few weeks. Some temporary swelling occurs but this condition can be alleviated by keeping the head elevated when reclining. Patients may be advised to sleep on a soft pillow but not directly on the ears. Six to eight days after surgery patients may be allowed to shampoo their hair. Scars from the incisions fade significantly with time and are, for the most part, inconspicuous because the incisions are made within the creases of the ears.
Although patients are usually up and around one or two days after surgery the decision as to when normal activities can be resumed is determined by Professor Ilankovan and is based on the extent of surgery and the patient′s healing progress.
Each year thousands of otoplasties are successfully performed. Occasionally, a second procedure is necessary if an ear begins to protrude again.
Other complications are:
These complications can be minimised by carefully following the surgeon′s instructions.
If you are interested in learning more about otoplasty please call our office and we will be happy to answer your questions.