Otoplasty- Cosmetic ear reshaping also known as otoplasty is generally performed to correct protuberant ears or ears that stick out too far. Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Samuel Lam, is skilled in all types of cosmetic ear reshaping (otoplasty) that involve minimal recovery and minimal discomfort following the procedure.
There are two major types of ear problems that require cosmetic otoplasty: a lop ear deformity and a cup ear deformity. Sometimes both types of deformities can exist in the same ear and require combined treatment.
Lop Ear Deformity Otoplasty– A lop ear deformity refers to the absence of a structure known as the antihelical fold, making the ear itself bend forward and outward. This type of ear deformity is the most common cause of protuberant ears that requires otoplasty correction.
Cup Ear Deformity Requiring Otoplasty– A cup ear deformity refers to the overgrowth of the central portion of the ear near the ear canal known as the concha or conchal bowl. Overgrowth of the concha makes the central portion of the ear stick out more. Tacking the concha back to the mastoid (the bone behind the ear) with or without partial reduction in the size of the concha can improve the shape and direction of the ear shape in this kind of ear deformity.
Lobule Reduction– Another part of the ear that may need correction is the lobule of the ear, i.e., the bottom part of the ear where an earring would be pierced through. Making sure that the bottom part of the new antihelix, known as the cauda helicis, is captured during otoplasty is an essential step during otoplasty to help ensure that the entire ear framework including the lobule is retroset properly. The lobule however at times must also be reduced separately via a tiny advancement flap in the skin behind the ear to make sure that the lobule and the upper framework are in balance
Traumatic or Reconstructive Otoplasty– Otoplasty simply means to change the shape of the ear through surgery. Therefore, even though we think of otoplasty as a method to correct ears that are too big, we may also have to replace parts of the ear lost through trauma or cancer. The ear is comprised of two parts: the outer skin and the inner cartilage. Unlike the nose where a skin graft will look almost entirely unnatural like a piece of gum stuck on the nose, a skin graft for the ear taken from behind the other ear can look so natural that even close inspection would be hard to tell that it is a skin graft. If part of the ear is missing, you can’t just close the hole. This will cause the ear to bend forward or cup, creating a cup-ear deformity. Instead, tissue is borrowed from the lobule and rotated as a pivoting flap so that the ear shape and position is maintained.
Otoplasty for Aging Face or Following Face Lift Surgery- Dr. Lam’s first textbook, Comprehensive Facial Rejuvenation, discuss methods to correct lengthening of the ear that comes with aging. Although long earlobes indicate wealth and wisdom in Asia, they are unaesthetic signs of aging in the West. Reductive star-plasty of the lobule can make the lengthened lower lobule smaller in appearance so that it resembles the shape of a comparatively younger ear. The lobule can also be unnaturally lengthened into a long point called a pixie-ear or devil’s-ear deformity following bad face lift surgery. Dr. Lam can correct this deformity by advancing and tucking up the descended lobule.
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