An otoplasty is performed for having a LOP ear, otherwise known as “Bat ears”.
An otoplasty takes approximately 2 hours. The procedure involves setting the ear back as well as recreating the fold of the ear, which may be absent in patients with a LOP ear. The procedure is performed under general anaesthetic.
Prior to the operation Dr Robinson individually plans the operation for each patient with the understanding that no 2 patients are the same and no 2 ears are the same.
There are 3 main corrective steps which Dr Robinson utilises in an otoplasty:
- Conchal setback stitches – Otherwise known as “Furness” stitches. These sutures are used to relocate the position of the conchal bowl which is prominent in “Bat ears”. These sutures are the sutures which are classically referred to as “Ear Pinning”.
- Anti helical fold creation – This process involves creating the antihelical fold which is immediately in front of the rim of the ear. When this fold isn’t present at all Dr Dan Robinson performs meticulous marking pre operatively to determine the best position for the fold. Dr Robinson then utilizes a variety of techniques to create the fold including “Scoring techniques” as well suturing techniques known as “Mastarde” sutures.
- Soft tissue – Appropriate removal / rearrangement of soft tissue is a part of an otoplasty which is often ignored but can lead to recurrence of the “LOP ear” or “Bat ear”. When Dr Robinson was performing his fellowship in facial plastics he was taught the importance of this part of the operation which involves recognizing the best place to hide the suture line, the appropriate amount of skin to remove (if any) and how much soft tissue dissection and removal is required to achieve the desired outcome.
Once the procedure is performed a head bandage is put on which will stay in place for approximately 3-5 days.
Dr Robinson will send you have with some antibiotics as well as some pain relief. Somewhere between day 3 – 5 post operatively Dr Robinson will remove the head bandage. Following removal of the head bandage Dr Robinson will get you to use Vaseline over the wound which is behind your ear. Depending on the degree of swelling post operatively Dr Robinson may ask you to wear a tennis band around your ears at night.
The main risk of an otoplasty is having what is called a hematoma post operatively. This is where there is a blood clot which forms under the skin after the otoplasty. You would know this is the case if your pain increases dramatically post operatively. If this is the case Dr Robinson would need to see you within 24 hours to arrange for treatment. The other main risk of the operation is an infection however this is relatively rare due to the antibiotics which are given post operatively.
Realistic goals of an otoplasty
The goal of an otoplasty is to have ears which are less prominent. This will usually lead to having an improved self esteem or being able to have a haircut which doesn’t cover the ears. It is important to understand that the left and right ear are not the same size prior to the operation and there may be some difference between the ears post operatively, however to the causal observer this will be minimal. Achieving perfectly symmetrical ears is not a realistic goal of the operation. Having said that, an otoplasty is a highly successful operation with excellent results with the combined approach Dr Robinson uses.