Des Moines Otoplasty Cosmetic Surgeons

Like a fingerprint, every ear is unique. But when that uniqueness becomes too distinctive, it can become a source of embarrassment. People who feel uncomfortable with their ears’ size, shape or position go to great lengths to try and hide them: they wear their hair long, don hats, and invest in “interesting” glasses to draw attention away from their ears. Even the actress and singer Selena Gomez admitted to Seventeen magazine that she frequently hides her ears behind her hair.

The Des Moines cosmetic surgeons at Bergman Folkers Plastic Surgery can help inform you of what cosmetic surgeries are available to you and which one may be right for you. About 5 percent of the population has ears that stick out and still more have other ear irregularities. If you are one of them, you have probably tried your own concealing tricks. But, when you are standing on stage in an evening gown, hair in an updo, ear muffs are not an appropriate accessory.

So what can you do?

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 25,000 people underwent ear surgery, or otoplasty, in 2012 to correct the shape, position, or proportion of their ears. As a relatively minor and common procedure, many people reduce the angle that their ears protrude from their head. While some patients feel that their ears are too large, they often have normal sized ears that simply stick out too far, making them appear larger. However, other patients may wish to pursue one or more of the following procedures to correct the appearance of their ears:

  • Reshape ears
  • Reduce ear size
  • Make ears more symmetrical
  • Fix torn earlobes

Our cosmetic surgeons can help you determine which procedure will produce the best results for you.

When do most people get ear surgery?

Since ears are one of the first body parts to fully develop, ear irregularities can be particularly noticeable in younger people. As a result, about 60 percent of ear surgeries are performed on teens ages 13-19. By the time a child is three, his or her ear width is already about 90 percent of its adult size. Stories of children enduring teasing because of their “bat ears” are abundant. In order to avoid emotional stress, individuals who are considering correcting their ears often do so as early as possible—the surgery can be performed on those as young as five years old all the way through adulthood.

As they develop, most people notice how their features change and some may feel self-conscious about certain attributes. Others may embrace their differences—think of President Obama’s signature big ears. If you are worried about your ears’ size or shape, talk to your plastic surgeon.

What should I expect during surgery and recovery?

Ear surgery is an outpatient procedure that is typically performed within two hours. To correct ears that stick out, an incision is made just behind the ear in the natural fold where the ear joins the head. Thereafter, a small amount of cartilage is removed and the position of the ear is adjusted. Stitches are then used to hold the ear in place while it heals. While small scars will remain, they will be on the back of the ear or in the inner crease of the ear and, thereby, virtually undetectable.

After surgery, ears are bandaged to protect them. In a few days the bandages are removed but the ears may remain red and swollen. It will take about 2-6 weeks for them to fully heal and about 2-3 months to attain the final, desired result. During that time, patients are asked to keep pressure off of their ears and to avoid sleeping on their side—a protective headband or guard may need to be worn to best protect the ear. Oftentimes, patients find it is best to wear button-up shirts during recovery so clothing does not need to be pulled over the head.

Are there nonsurgical ways to correct ears?

Currently, there are not any non-surgical options to change the shape or angle of the ears. For infants, a splint can be worn over the ear to mold the cartilage as it develops. However, splints are not effective for older children or adults.

Consult with Our Des Moines Otoplasty Specialists

Your ears help you communicate, they allow you to dance to the beat, and give us a place in which to whisper soft nothings; your ears should be something to celebrate, not something to hide. To discuss your particular concerns with one of the Des Moines cosmetic surgeons at Bergman Folkers Plastic Surgery, please call our Des Moines offices at (515) 222-1111 today.

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