Otoplasty, commonly known as ear surgery, transforms the size and shape of the ears to be aesthetically pleasing and proportionate to the face. Richmond area facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Matthew Bridges M.D. FACS, helps patients as young as 6 years old by surgically modifying ears that are over-sized, stick out, or have developed in an abnormal shape. While Dr. Bridges can perform ear surgery on older patients, it can be easier on a child if the ears are fully grown before they start elementary school. Many patients find that ear surgery can lower their overall anxiety level and increase their self-confidence. Dr. Bridges also performs earlobe repair for patients who have torn earlobes or earlobes that have been stretched by ear gauges. Dr. Bridges can also address problems with ear symmetry by repositioning the ears to correct one ear that is significantly higher than the other.
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"Exceptional work! I've recommended to my friends and family."- L.I. / Google / Mar 12, 2019
"I had seen 5 other ents before Dr. Bridges was reccomend for me to see. I wish I found him years ago. He is by far one of the best Doctors I have been fortunate to been seen by. He took the time to listen to my systoms and my journey of trying to get well and looked through my cscat scans and mri results to find what the real issue was. I ended up having sinus surgery and he was so gentle and explained everything. He has bedside manners! Very rare to find. I cannot recommend him enough! Thank you Dr. Bridges!"- B.B. / Facebook / Jan 04, 2019
"Three and half weeks pre-op opinion - Had consultation with Dr. Bridges. Seems like a great guy and I appreciate his choice for closed method. Anyhow this is the computer representation. Opinions appreciated. Especially from those who have had rhino/septy."- M. / RealSelf / Oct 21, 2018
The technique used during ear surgery will depend on the abnormality. First, there may be an insufficient amount of ear cartilage to support the fold of the ear, or too much cartilage where the ear canal starts. Both issues will cause the ear to protrude outward. In some cases, the ears may appear too large. Regardless of the condition, the cartilage will usually be addressed and either removed or reshaped. Then, the cartilage will be secured with sutures into a new position closer to the head. The incision is generally placed within the natural folds of the ear so scarring is not an issue.
All otoplasties are performed under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure in an accredited surgical facility. The entire surgery typically takes about 2 hours to complete. After surgery, patients will be sent home with their heads wrapped in a compression bandage, which will later be replaced with lighter bandaging. Initially, patients will feel discomfort if they attempt to move their ears. This will subside in a few days. Younger patients will need to be monitored so they do not touch or play with their ears during the healing process.
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Ear Surgery FAQs
The results following an otoplasty procedure are long lasting. However, just like any other cosmetic procedure, aging and gravity may cause increased laxity. This could eventually affect the position of the ears. For the most part, the improvements made with this surgery are still significant.
Children between the ages of 4-6 are considered within the ideal range for this surgery. From an anatomical standpoint, the cartilage is still soft and will be easier to remold and manipulate. From a psychological standpoint, having this surgery before starting elementary school can help avoid teasing and ridicule from classmates.
Both Ear or Just One?
In the majority of cases, both ears are affected. Therefore, surgery is performed on both ears. However, there may sometimes be an abnormality in just one ear. If this is the case, surgery will be performed on the affected ear, which will be made to match the opposing ear.