Your ears are one of the most important senses that you use every day. But it's also something that people look at when they're talking to you. Most people don't take notice of regular ears, but any sort of deformity can stick out like a sore thumb. Deformed or protruding ears can lead to reduced self-confidence, embarrassment, and teasing. Luckily, for these people hope is not lost. That's because ear plastic surgery can help reshape an ear to a more pleasing form. It's a lot more practical than trying to cover up the ear with long hair or hats.
For each patient, a plastic surgery ear surgery is unique and tailored to his or her needs. That's because ear deformities are unique, and a reshaping will require careful analysis of the patient's ear. In the case of protruding ears, however, a common method of fixing it is called the pin-back procedure.
The ear is a complex 3-D shape, and a surgeon typically takes many pictures and maybe even a cast of the ear before figuring out what to do with it.
Most patients of ear plastic surgery are children between the ages of 4 to 14. The human ear has completed most of its growth by the age of four, so that's when a permanent change can be accomplished. Surgeons recommend that the younger the patient, the better, so as to avoid ridicule and name-calling at school. The procedure is valid for adults as well.
There are also several reconstructive techniques for deformities like the loss of an ear or a torn earlobe.
A cosmetic ear surgery usually involves modifying the cartilage in the upper ear. That tissue in particular is most pliable and will take on permanent shapes. For more serious reconstructions, skin may need to be grafted from other parts of the body in order to restore the ear to some recognizable form.
The surgery itself takes a few hours, with more complicated reconstructions taking more time. Generally, the recovery process is short, with most patients returning to their daily lives within a week. All healing symptoms should subside within a few months.
Having deformed ears can be a humiliating experience that makes people self-conscious when interacting with others. It can be even worse for children who face the possibility of teasing and torment that could mentally scar them. A quick ear surgery can fix these problems and give the patient a new sense of worth and confidence that previously didn't exist.
Plastic surgeons have been experimenting with ear reconstruction for many years. There are some key challenges to overcome when approaching any ear reconstruction. It is a lengthy procedure that requires a lot of preparation and careful surgical work.
The major challenge in an ear reconstruction is to create a natural looking ear. In order to make one, suitable replacements for the ear's special cartilage and skin must be found. The cartilage in the ear is thin and softer than other kinds of cartilage in the body, while the skin is especially soft, flexible, and hairless. Doctors must find sufficient quantities of replacement material elsewhere in the body to successfully rebuild an ear. Lastly, the shape of the final product must look like a real ear and replicate its complex 3-D shape as much as possible. To this effect, surgeons often take pictures and casts of the patient's healthy ear and attempt to mirror it.
The skin usually comes from the legs or the arm, while the cartilage preferred comes from the ribs. The surgeon must gauge the right quantities of both, excise them, and place the over the target ear area. The skin must be pulled back with great care in order to make room for the donor material.
The entire procedure takes many hours and several different stages before completion. The healing process is also incredibly long and can be painful. Full effects of the surgery may not be seen until years afterwards, though a good indication of the relative success of the operation can be seen after half a year.
Ear reconstruction is a serious undertaking and is only for those with massive ear trauma or genetic defects. Though the final result is only an approximation of a healthy ear, it can give the patient a level of confidence and self-esteem that they have never experienced.