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Information for performing an otoplasty

Introduction

An otoplasty is a surgical correction of deformities of the pinna (protruding ears). Of course, it may be the case that certain aspects of this document are not applicable in your individual case or that they need to be discussed more or additionally with your surgeon. Don't forget to report to your surgeon all information regarding your general health, as well as any medications you regularly take (especially aspirin and related products, or other medications that may affect clotting). Do not forget to report if you have experienced any allergic reactions, especially reactions to medication. Bring recent medical records in your possession such as blood tests, radiologic and other preoperative examinations.

 

Purpose of the procedure

This surgical procedure aims to improve the shape of the pinna or the position of the pinna for aesthetic reasons.

 

The technical aspects of the operation

The procedure can be performed under general anaesthetic, local anaesthetic or, usually, a combination of both. Xylocaine is injected for local anaesthesia, even if the procedure is performed under general anaesthetic. The procedure requires a skin incision at the back of the ear, making it possible to work on the cartilage of the pinna or on the bone behind the pinna using appropriate incisions. At the end of the procedure, the skin is closed again and a compression bandage is also applied. The length of hospitalization and post-operative care will be explained in detail by your surgeon.

 

Immediate Effects

The main risk is bleeding postoperatively causing a hematoma (collection of blood). If such bleeding occurs, the blood collection must be removed, which involves surgical reoperation followed by a compressive dressing for an extended period of time.

 

Late Effects

Postoperative infection is rare and manifests with pinna pain and an inflamed (infectious) appearance of the pinna (red, swelling, warmth). This infection requires appropriate antibiotic treatment to prevent infection of the cartilage. Although the appearance of the obtained result is usually very satisfactory, in some cases irregularities of the fold can be detected. It is very difficult to ensure perfect symmetry of the two auricles. If the asymmetry is too great, it can be corrected with a second surgery. Sensory disturbances can be observed at the level of the scar, which can temporarily hinder the wearing of glasses. The pinna remains sensitive for several weeks.

 

Serious and/or exceptional complications

Any surgical procedure, even performed under ideal conditions and in the best possible way, can entail complications. Bruises favor infectious complications and, in particular, a chondritis (infection of the cartilage of the auricle) which can lead to necrosis (death) with almost complete destruction of the cartilage of the ear, leaving a small and often very deformed ear . In very rare, unforeseeable cases, the scarring of the skin behind the ear can thicken and take on an unsightly, hypertrophic appearance, leading to a keloid scar. This may also require a second surgery to correct.

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