Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Ear reconstruction is a form of surgery that can rebuild an ear damaged by trauma or cancer surgery, or misshapen or missing due to a congenital (present at birth) microtia disorder.
There are three major types of commonly used procedures in ear surgery:
- Microtia Repair: Microtia means tiny ear, and refers to an inborn condition where one or both of the outer ears are very small, malformed or absent. Microtia occurs about once in every 6,000 births. Some forms of these ear deformities are genetic and may occur with other congenital problems. Surgery to repair microtia may include creating a new ear out of the person’s own tissue, such as rib cartilage, or building an artificial (prosthetic) ear. This is a multi-stage surgery and may require minor touch up procedures
- Otoplasty: Otoplasty is cosmetic surgery on the outer, visible parts of the ear. For example, ear pinning can surgically angle the ears closer to the head to make them less prominent.
- Ear Defect Repair: Trauma or cancer surgery can result in tissue loss, requiring plastic surgery to restore the form and function of the outer ear.
The length of a person’s recovery depends on the extent of the reconstruction. In most cases, the person will leave the health care setting with soft dressings and bandages on the surgical site, and these stay in place for a few days.
Immediately after surgery:
- It is important that you follow all patient care instructions provided by Dr. Date, and to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies in all individuals.
- You will have a rather large dressing wrapped around your ears and head for a day or two.
- There may be mild pain for which pain killers will be given.
Recovery time frame :
- To minimize discomfort, it’s recommended that you recline but keep your head elevated. Do not rest your head on the operated ear, as this can result in throbbing and general discomfort.
- The dressing may be replaced by a lighter one by 3-4 days when you come for follow up.
- Stitches if non-absorbable, may be removed by 10-14 days.
- You can expect to return to work and any light activity after one week. In two weeks, your results will be visible, although small changes to the ears can occur for up to twelve months.
Every procedure involves inherent risks. Although serious complications are extremely rare, Dr. Date educates every patient about potential risks.
Some of the potential complications of all surgeries are:
- Adverse reaction to anaesthesia
- Hematoma or seroma (an accumulation of blood or fluid under the skin that may require removal)
- Infection and bleeding
- Change in sensitivity around the ears and in the face around the ears
- Permanent scars
- Asymmetry of the ears in longer-term
- Damage to underlying structures
- Unsatisfactory results that may necessitate additional procedures
It’s essential that you contact your surgeon immediately:
- Swelling or redness that lasts for longer than two weeks
- High fever (> 101 degrees)
- Dizziness, nausea, or incoherent behaviour.
- Severe pain not controlled with any prescribed pain medication
- Excessive bleeding in or around your ears
- Any severe disproportion in your ears, particularly if it looks as though the fluid is collecting in one ear.
You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions of your board-certified plastic surgeon, both before and after your ear surgery.