For children and adults needing ear reconstruction, UHealth's facial plastic and reconstructive surgery team has the expertise to rebuild the external ear.
We can treat conditions present at birth like microtia (where the outer ear does not form), trauma, cancer, and more. We are also skilled at otoplasty (a procedure to change the shape or position of the ears).
Who is a Candidate for Ear Reconstruction?
Surgeons usually perform ear surgery on children between 4 and 14 years old.
Adults may also receive ear surgery to treat a defect from birth, an injury from trauma, or cancer treatment. Ear surgery for adults does not generally bring any additional risks.
What to Expect?
Before the procedure
You will meet with your physician to examine the ear and evaluate reconstructive options. Each case is unique, particularly after trauma or cancer, so ear reconstruction requires creativity and an understanding of a variety of techniques Our providers have the ability to develop the best plan for you.
This may involve using small amounts of tissue grafts from the other ear and mobilizing surrounding tissue to re-create the ear in the best possible way. We will also discuss the use of anesthesia. Your physician may recommend general anesthesia (where your anesthesiologist will put you in a sleep-like state) or local anesthesia (where your provider will numb the affected area only).
If you are interested in otoplasty (reconstruction of the ears where the ears may have underdeveloped cartilage structures or flare out too much), your surgeon will evaluate your candidacy.
During the procedure
Your surgeon will create a small incision (cut) in the back of the ear to expose the cartilage. Then they will reshape the cartilage as needed. Alternatively, your surgeon may use stitches to reshape the ear without removing cartilage. These surgeries generally take around two to three hours, as the surgery demands attention to detail to obtain the best possible result.
Ear surgeries are usually outpatient procedures, so you’ll likely go home the same day as your surgery.
However, your surgeon may recommend staying overnight in the hospital for complex procedures.
After the procedure
You may experience pain and discomfort. You will also be unable to sleep on your side for several days. Cold packs or pain relievers will help ease any discomfort.
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