Otoplasty is a cosmetic surgery to correct the shape of the ears or to make them appear less prominent. This is a very rewarding surgery because correcting prominent ears can significantly improve self esteem, especially in young people and children. Each ear is unique, but prominent ears are usually caused by an incompletely formed antihelical fold and excess conchal bowl cartilage (the top picture below illustrates a more defined antihelical fold and reduced conchal bowl size one year after otoplasty surgery.) In addition, some patients have prominent ear lobules, requiring removal of the extra soft tissue from the bottom third of the ear. Dr. Irvine uses incisions only on the back of the ear so that once the ears are healed the incisions are well hidden and virtually imperceptible.

Dr. Irvine uses several techniques to pin ears back, including: Mustarde sutures to form an antihelical fold (to keep the top of the ear further toward the head), conchal bowl cartilage excision (to set the middle part of the ear back), Furnas sutures (to pin the middle part of the ear back further), and a soft tissue flap (to use the soft tissue on the back of the ear to cover the sutures, reducing the risk of extrusion, and to hold the ear back more firmly than just sutures alone.) When needed she will also suture cotton bolsters to the conchal bowl to prevent fluid accumulation and provide an extra measure to keep the ear pinned back.

Otoplasty can be performed under local or general anesthesia. A bandage is worn around the head for 3 to 5 days after surgery. An elastic headband is worn at all times for 2 weeks after surgery and then at night for 6 weeks after surgery. Swelling of the ears lasts about a week and most patients return to work by 3 to 7 days after surgery.

Earlobe repairs are done to make the earlobe more aesthetically appealing after trauma, such as after a pulled or heavy earring causes the ear lobe to stretch or tear.  Dr. Irvine performs a quick in-office procedure to repair the ear.  If desired, the ears can be re-pierced 1-2 months after the procedure (as demonstrated in the below pictures, taken before ear lobe repair and 2 months after ear lobe repair, immediately after re-piercing by Dr. Irvine.)

There is no downtime to this procedure, and patients can return to work and activities the same day.