For some people, ears are an afterthought. However, if you have overly large ears, a condition called macrotia, or if you have protruding ears, you may think of little else when it comes to your appearance. Consequently, your self-esteem can be negatively affected. Whether it was something you were born with or if you’re simply dissatisfied with a previous ear surgery, the Zelken Institute for Aesthetic Medicine can help you have the ears you’ve always wanted.
Ear surgery, also known as otoplasty, can improve the shape, position or proportion of the ear. Otoplasty (the official name for ear reshaping) creates a more natural shape and adds balance and proportion to the ears and face. Correction of even minor deformities can have profound beneﬁts to appearance and self-esteem.
If protruding or disﬁgured ears bother you or your child, you can trust the expertise of Dr. Zelken and his team at the Zelken Institute for Aesthetic Medicine. Dr. Zelken can also correct a defect in the ear structure that was present at birth or that becomes apparent with development, as well as misshapen ears caused by injury.
Ear surgery is a highly individualized procedure and the decision to proceed with surgery is yours alone. Children can be good candidates for ear surgery if they are healthy, do not have a life-threatening illness or untreated chronic ear infections and have reached a point when their ear cartilage is stable enough for correction (typically around five years of age). It’s also important that young children are able to communicate their feelings and do not voice objections when surgery is discussed.
Teenagers and adults are ideal candidates for ear surgery at the Zelken Institute for Aesthetic Medicine if they are healthy, do not have a life-threatening illness or medical condition that can impair healing and have specific, realistic goals in mind for ear surgery. It’s also critical that any candidate for ear surgery is a nonsmoker.
Prior to any surgery at the Zelken Institute of Aesthetic Medicine, including ear surgery, you will have a consultation with Dr. Zelken. We will discuss your goals, past medical procedures and may take photographs for your record. When we ask question pertaining to your health, desires and lifestyle, the success and safety of your procedure depends very much on your complete candidness. During this consultation, you will be presented with a course of action based on years of otoplasty experience.
Though you will have unrivalled access to Dr. Zelken and his staff throughout the process, this is a great time for you to ask any questions you may have regarding the procedure. If you’re feeling anxious about your anticipated new look or the operation itself, be sure to discuss those feelings with us. A little anxiety, by the way, is completely normal prior to any procedure.
Depending on your individual situation and scope of surgery, Dr. Zelken will recommend local, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia for your comfort during the surgical procedure. Incisions for otoplasty are generally made on the back surface of the ear. With the ear permanently positioned closer to the head, surgical scars are generally hidden. When incisions are necessary on the front of the ear, Dr. Zelken is able to make them within the folds in order to better hide them. Internal sutures are used to hold the newly shaped cartilage in place, and external stitches are used to close the incision. Dr. Zelken has the experience and honed skills to ensure that your results appear natural.
Discomfort immediately following ear surgery is normal and can be controlled with pain medication. After surgery, bandages or dressings will be applied to keep your surgical site clean, protect it from trauma and to support the new position of the ear during initial healing.
You may experience an itchy feeling under your bandages, but it’s essential that bandages remain intact and are not removed for any reason. Failure to do so may result in loss of some of the correction and may require a secondary surgery.
Our team will give you specific postoperative instructions that may include how to take care of your ears following surgery, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection and when to follow-up with our office.
For protruding ears, the results of ear surgery are visible once the dressings that support the new shape of the ear during healing are removed. The results of more extensive ear surgery and reconstruction may appear in stages over time.
If you’re considering ear surgery or if you have questions about otoplasty, don’t hesitate to contact us or schedule a consultation with Dr. Zelken. We’re located at 1617 Westcliff Drive in Newport Beach, CA, and we can be reached at (949) 432-4730. We serve patients from across the world — we have a Mandarin Chinese-speaking physician — along with clients in Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Irvine and Laguna Beach, California.
Yes. Ear lobe repair is often simple and can be performed awake. Whether you want to undo your decision to have that gauge placed 10 years ago, heavy hoop earrings are making your piercing look like a slit, or the earrings have actually pulled through, the solution may be a 25 minute procedure away.
Ear surgery is usually classified as an elective surgery, so insurance typically will not cover the costs. However, some procedures may be covered by health insurance, particularly if performed to relieve medical symptoms or to restore hearing function. In that case, precertiﬁcation would be required for reimbursement or coverage. If you feel that your surgery is not elective, be sure to consult with your insurance company in advance. Dr. Zelken’s team can also help you explore insurance option.
No, ear surgery is an outpatient surgery. For any outpatient surgery, it’s important that you arrange for someone to drive you to and from the procedure. We will, however, work with you to coordinate care after you leave our facility with one of our post-operative care consultants.
Prior to surgery, we will go over the risks associated with the surgery, such as infection and unfavorable scarring. To minimize risks and facilitate healing, Dr. Zelken will insist that you stop smoking prior to ear surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks or potential complications. We may also ask that you get a lab test or a medical evaluation, take certain medications or adjust your current medications, and avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs, herbal supplements and other medications that may increase bleeding during surgery. The decision to have any plastic surgery is extremely personal. You will have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications of ear surgery are acceptable.
Written by Dr. Jonathan Zelken
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