Otoplasty is a commonly performed surgical procedure that corrects prominent ears in children. Adults can also undergo surgery but it’s not always as common. The surgery aims to reduce large or protruding ears by setting them back closer to the head. Correcting the shape of the ears so that they are more aesthetically pleasing is also an option. Generally, otoplasty is postponed until the ears have undergone most of their growth. This is usually at the preschool age. The operation can be performed at any age after that, even in adulthood.
How much does otoplasty cost?
Otoplasty has an item number. However, certain criteria must be met in order to use the item number. If the item number is applicable, patients will get a rebate from Medicare and their health fund and the hospital costs should be covered by private health funds. This will depend on the patients’ level and type of cover though. At the first consultation, Dr Safvat and his team will assess your eligibility for the item number and discuss all the costs associated with otoplasty surgery. The factors that need to be considered is what needs to be achieved as well as surgeon, anaesthetist and hospital facility fees.
Are there any otoplasty complications I should know about?
While every care is taken by Dr Safvat and his team to minimise or avoid complications, there will always be risks. Any surgical procedure can be associated with some general complications, such as risks associated with general anaesthetics, and mild to severe infection. Dr Safvat only operates at fully accredited hospitals and works with highly trained anaesthetists accredited with The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA). This minimises many of the risks.
Dr Safvat will prescribe antibiotics upon discharge to minimise infection risks. With otoplasty, although uncommon, there is a risk of collection of blood (haematoma) in the ear. Irregularity of shape and noticeable asymmetry are other rare complications of otoplasty which may require revision surgery. Dr Safvat will ensure you know about all potential complications prior to undergoing this procedure.
Can my earlobes be repaired at the same time?
Yes, it’s very common for patients to pair an otoplasty procedure with earlobe repair. Age, heavy earrings and injury can cause the earlobes to stretch or even tear. To repair the earlobes, any excess skin is removed and any torn areas are stitched back together. There may be some slight scarring on the earlobes but it’s barely noticeable. The scars will fade over time too.
Is otoplasty and pinnaplasty different?
If you’ve come across the term ‘pinnaplasty’, you may be wondering how it’s different to otoplasty. The answer is that it’s not. Pinna simply refers to the part of the ear that projects past the head. Plasty refers to the art of moulding and reshaping the ear.
If I had otoplasty as a child and my ears are still permanent, can I have a second surgery?
If for any reason you are still not happy with the appearance of your ears, it is possible to undergo a second otoplasty procedure. Before you do, it’s best to speak to Dr Safvat about your expectations. All too often, it’s the expectations about what can be achieved that leaves patients unsatisfied with their results. Secondary procedures are also common among those who injured their ears again later in life. As long as you are physically healthy and know what can be achieved, there’s no reason why you can’t undergo a second procedure.