Ears are one of the few body features that people can't keep from being seen. Long hair can sometimes cover them up, but that's only temporary. They're so visible people regularly hang jewelry from them - so when someone feels uncomfortable with the shape of his or her ears, it can sometimes reach unbearable levels of embarrassment.
That's why otoplasty, or cosmetic ear surgery, can be such a popular procedure for so many people. Children who are constantly teased by their classmates, adults who are fed up with the self-confidence drag their ears give them, or someone who has suffered trauma to their ears, are just a few examples of people who can look to otoplasty for help.
Conversely, some children are born with severe ear defects, and may also be excellent candidates for reconstructive otoplasty. If you're wondering whether you or your child fall into the category of likely otoplasty candidates, the following information can help you decide.
Traditional vs. Reconstructive Otoplasty
Traditional otoplasty is also known as ear pinning, where large or extruding ears are "pinned" back towards the patient's head. This creates a more common look that patients usually feel is more normal and beautiful.
Reconstructive otoplasty helps deal with severe ear defects that can come from birth or some kind of outside trauma. Some of the defects that can be corrected with reconstructive otoplasty are listed below:
- Cagot Ear - No earlobe is present
- Cat's Ear - The edges of the ear are folded forward, much like a cat
- Lop Ear - Resembling a cup, the ear curves severely inward
- Scroll Ear - The ears are curled forward, like a rolled up scroll
- Wildermuth's Ear - The top curve of the ear is reversed, curving towards the scalp instead
- Stahl's Ear Deformity - Abnormal folding of the ear creates a pointed edge, resembling an elf's ear
- Cleft Earlobe - An indent occurring in the earlobe
- Question Mark Ear or Cosman Ear - Resembling a question mark, the ear has a separation in the skull between the earlobe and the outer curve of the ear
- Microtia - The ears are severely small and underdeveloped
- Macrotia - Abnormally large ears
- Constricted Ear - Partial absence of skin and cartilage on the outer back portion of the ear
- Cryptotia - The upper curved portion of the ear is embedded in the scalp
- Cauliflower Ear - Due to repeated injury to the ear, cartilage gets separated from the perichondrium and fills with fluid, which becomes permanently cartilaginous and deformed
- Skin Cancer and Malignant Melanoma - Although not usually cosmetic, otoplasty can help remove skin cancer and then reconstruct the tissue left over
Although most of these conditions can appear as severe congenital defects, some people are just hate that their ears still too far out or are too big. These people are more likely to be traditional otoplasty candidates, but should talk to a surgeon to see if it's right for them.
Remember, otoplasty doesn't magically grant people new wonderful ears, so its important to take this procedure seriously and understand the realistic results and risks involved.
Visit the DocShop gallery to view otoplasty before and after photos.
Photo credit: Thomas L. Tzikas, MD, PA
Children and Otoplasty
Most of the conditions listed above are congenital defects, which are usually dealt with at a young age. Child patients tend to have otoplasty around the age of six, when their ears has developed to a size relatively close to an adults.
Still, children between the ages of four and fourteen are common otoplasty candidates. Children younger than four are normally not candidates since their ears are still growing, but conditions caught early can be manipulated better with younger ear tissue.
Naturally there can be exceptions to these commonalities. If your child has a severe ear defect that you have not talked to your doctor about, it's worth a conversation to determine if he or she is a viable candidate for otoplasty. Learn more about pediatric otoplasty here.
Use DocShop to Find a Otoplasty Surgeon
Whether you have large or malformed ears, or your child has been born with a congenital ear defect, a properly trained and skilled surgeon can help bring normalcy to your life. To talk to a surgeon and see if you are one of the many otoplasty candidates out there, find and contact one through DocShop. The right surgeon can help transform your ears and your life, so start looking today.