Ear Surgery Provides Balance and Proportion in the Milwaukee and Madison Area
We all come in different shapes and sizes. That’s what makes us beautiful. Sometimes, though, these differences (especially in visually prominent spots, like the ears) can make us feel self-conscious. Ears that stick out more than average are entirely normal, but children and adults alike may be teased and become unhappy with how their ears look. If your child is suffering from bullying, or you think now is the time to get ears that look like you’ve always dreamed, ear surgery, known technically as otoplasty at the Milwaukee area’s Parkins Plastic Surgery, could be right for you.
No matter what your age, from infancy on, Dr. Maida Parkins can employ safe and efficient methods to address overly prominent ears. If a parent notices a cosmetic issue in the first few weeks of life, most variations of misshapen ears can be corrected with a nonsurgical, painless procedure in the office. After infancy, though, most children and adults undergo surgical otoplasty (sometimes referred to as ear pinning) to improve their self-esteem and the overall appearance of their ears. Otoplasty is ideally performed on children aged 5 to 6 years old, so that the ears are done growing, but the child is just entering kindergarten or first grade.
The Benefits of Otoplasty
Ears are incredibly unique. They can appear to stick out for a variety of reasons, from malalignment with the head to particularly large conchal bowls (the part of the ear leading to the opening). Prominent ears may also be caused by small or weak folds. Whatever the case, Dr. Parkins can help with ear surgery.
If you’re concerned about your child, the sooner you can come in for an otoplasty consultation, the better. Research has shown that infants achieve excellent results with the help of specialized medical devices, with no ear surgery needed. Success is highest in the first two months of life because of the high levels of maternal estrogen in their systems.
However, in many cases, individuals don’t feel the need to change their ears until later in life. The majority of otoplasty surgeries are performed on children between 5 and 14 years old, after they have experienced bullying or a sense of embarrassment surrounding their ears. We recommend surgery ideally before entering school, as this minimizes the teasing your child may experience.
During your ear surgery consultation, Dr. Parkins will be able to help you decide what the right age is for an otoplasty and can fully explain the procedure to you or your child.
The best way to determine if you or your child is a good candidate for otoplasty is to schedule an in-person consultation during which Dr. Parkins will help to build you a personalized treatment plan.
In general, candidates meet these criteria:
- One or both ears are prominent due to excess ear tissue, overly large conchal bowl, weakly defined antihelical fold, or protruding lobes.
- Be in good overall health, without major uncorrected respiratory, cardiovascular, kidney, or other serious conditions. Dr. Parkins will need the patient to be medically cleared by a primary care physician. If you have a prior history of hearing loss, we may require a consultation with an ENT or audiologist. Understanding your BMI before your consultation will help determine your eligibility for surgery.
- You should be a nonsmoker or open to quitting all forms of nicotine and tobacco consumption at least three weeks pre-op and for the entirety of the recovery period.
- Have a support network of family, friends, and caregivers to help keep you on schedule, safely and comfortably complete pre/post-op tasks, and provide emotional support throughout the process.
- Reasonable expectations of otoplasty results.
Meet Maida Parkins, M.D.
"A friendly touch with results you can see"
As founder of Parkins Plastic Surgery, Milwaukee-area board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Maida Parkins emphasizes patient-centered care to safely achieve beautiful, natural-looking results.
What Happens During an Otoplasty Procedure?
Dr. Parkins typically performs the procedure with the ear surgery patient under general anesthesia. The most common technique is to make a small incision behind the ear, allowing Dr. Parkins to manipulate the ear’s cartilage. She then maneuvers and sculpts the cartilage, bringing the ear closer to the head. With the help of some small stitches under the skin, your ears will stay in their new position.
Alternately, Dr. Parkins can remove a small portion of ear skin, then use stitches to fold the cartilage and reshape the ear without any cartilage removal.
In many cases, Dr. Parkins employs elements of both techniques to suit the specific needs and desired outcomes of her patient. Usually, both ears will be modified to ensure symmetry. Any incisions will be sealed and carefully bandaged to ensure a safe healing process.
Overall, the procedure takes about two hours.
Both children and adults will be able to safely get up and walk just a few hours after otoplasty. We recommend you keep the surgical dressings on until the first post-operative visit, which is usually in the first couple of days after surgery.
Most patients experience some discomfort around the incision sites and will need to sleep on either their stomach or back. After the first few days, Dr. Parkins asks patients to wear a headband to keep the ears stably positioned for up to two weeks post-op. To reduce any aching or throbbing, patients will receive a prescription for pain medication.
In most cases, otoplasty leaves a small, faint scar naturally hidden behind the ear. It is generally very challenging to spot, and most people’s scars heal without any trouble. Dr. Parkins will continue to work with you after ear surgery to check in on your recovery and answer any questions you might have.
Adults can usually return to work or school within a few days. Children can return to school in less than a week after ear surgery, given they are careful during physical activity. Any activity that could result in direct contact to the ear should be avoided for one month.
Frequently Asked Questions About Otoplasty
Finally, talk honestly and openly with your child, listen to their wishes, and answer any questions they have. If you don’t know an answer, please contact us, and we can help.
There’s no exact answer to this question, as each patient requires a unique treatment plan that can affect the total cost. That said, we’ll discuss all financial details during your consultation and offer a variety of financing options to fit every budget.
If you or your child feel like their ears are malpositioned, too large, or even awkward, Dr. Parkins can help. Otoplasty can help you feel like your best self and reduce teasing. To learn more about otoplasty, schedule an in-person consultation with Dr. Maida Parkins.
More Facial Surgery Options
Adults choosing ear surgery may also opt for procedures to rejuvenate an aging face. Dr. Parkins also offers blepharoplasty surgery to address drooping or sagging upper eyelids.