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Are Your Ears Too Big or Do They Stick Out? Otoplasty Can Help

Prominent ears — specifically, ears that stick out from the sides of the head — are fairly common, affecting about 5% of the population. But if you’re one of that 5%, dealing with the effects of prominent ears can sometimes make you feel like you’re all alone.

Fortunately, otoplasty surgery can help, using special techniques to reshape or reposition ears for a natural, aesthetically pleasing result. At Vida Bela Plastic Surgery, Chelsea Snider, MD, offers otoplasty for patients at her Frisco and Plano, Texas, practice. If you’re thinking about otoplasty for yourself or for your child, here’s what you should know.

How otoplasty works

Prominent ears can make anyone self-conscious. Not only are your ears more noticeable when they protrude from the sides of your head, but they can wind up looking larger, too, even if they’re a typical size. 

Otoplasty uses surgical techniques to reposition ears, “pinning” them back closer to the sides of the head. The surgery doesn’t affect your hearing or the inner parts of the ear — just the outer areas of the ear, called the pinnae. This part of the ear is primarily composed of cartilage. During otoplasty surgery, Dr. Snider reduces the amount of cartilage to resize and reshape the ear. In some cases, she may reshape the outer edge of the ear, as well.

Incisions are typically made along the back side of the ear, so they can easily be hidden. If incisions are required in the visible portion of the outer ear, Dr. Snider can use the natural folds of the ear to hide any scars.

After surgery, a special surgical dressing is placed on the ear to protect it while it heals. Dr. Snider provides patients with detailed directions to encourage healing and keep the ear in its new position during the early stages of recovery.

Benefits of otoplasty — for kids and adults

About 23,000 otoplasty procedures are performed in the United States each year. Many of the procedures are performed on young children to help them feel more confident (and avoid potential teasing). For children, surgery for prominent ears is typically performed once the child’s ears have stopped developing — usually around age five.

As an adult, you might think you’re too old for otoplasty — but that’s not the case. Otoplasty can provide substantial benefits for older children, teens, and adults, too. In fact, a recent study of otoplasty in adult patients found this surgery offers “significant positive psychosocial benefits” for these patients, too, making it an ideal solution at any stage of life.

If you’ve been considering otoplasty for yourself or for your child, call the office or book an appointment online, and learn how Dr. Snider and her team can help. 

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