Ear projection is something that most people don’t have to think about. Ears are generally not a highlight of the face, especially when the person in question has regular sized ears. However, with large ears, a person can look unappealing. The rest of this article will explore the options available to make ears smaller.
Otoplasty is the surgery that corrects the appearance of the outer ear. It is a surgical option that can pin the ears back. It is usually performed on children at least 4-14 years old. By four, a child’s ears are already fully formed, and surgery is possible.
There are various reasons that someone may have abnormal-looking ears. They may have ears that are too large or ears that are too small. Their ears might not be a good proportion to the rest of their face, or the ears might have certain deformities.
The reasons why someone might get otoplasty will vary. Regardless, many people can be a candidate for the surgery. Problems with the outer ear are mostly cosmetic. There is little that the outer ear does in terms of actual hearing ability. An otoplasty might help with hearing, but that is not the main driving force behind people who want to get their ears altered.
In many cases, surgery for big ears is because the ears look too large or are too prominent. This outcome will look unbalanced and overall unattractive.
How to Know if Your Ears Look Too Big
The easiest way to tell is, of course, with your own judgment. Just look in the mirror and see if your ears are too big or don’t fit with the rest of your face. Use the rule of fifths to divide up your face:
A harmonious face will not have the ears protrude too far past the head. A fifth of the face is usually equal to one eye width.
Also, some studies show what kind of ear size and proportion is ideal. Ideally, the outer ear should be about half as wide as it is long. You can even go as wide as 60% of the ear’s length (Tolleth, 1978). The ear should also sit back around an ear size behind the tip of the eye.
These metrics are not a solid gauge, of course. Ears look completely normal even when they are not specifically within those measurements. Even then, you can fix large ears with surgery.
Ultimately, it is up to you to determine if your ears look proportional. It is your personal decision whether or not you are comfortable with the way your ears look.
Possible Causes of Prominent Ears
Prominent ears are not necessarily always too large. Sometimes, at a certain angle, ears will appear to stick out of the face, resulting in an unattractive look.
As appearance is a major motivation in today’s society, having prominent ears can leave someone feeling isolated or different. Some people might not take it seriously. But others might feel isolated from their peers because of their ears. Although it sounds superficial, it is a struggle that some people go through every day.
Prominent ears can be due to a lot of different factors. It is hereditary, although that is rare, as most prominent ears don’t have a hereditary pattern. Prominent ears can also come from accidents, genetics, or preexisting health conditions that made the ear look that way.
Regardless of the cause, prominent ears remain a bothersome feature for some people. This opinion rings true when the person is particular about their appearance. Fortunately, there is a solution to it.
What Is Otoplasty?
Otoplasty is a way to reshape the outer ear. Patients usually opt for the procedure when they feel like their ears look odd or too large. Patients who have ear deformities can also choose to go through the procedure to get a better-looking ear.
While otoplasty may have a functional contribution, the process is cosmetic for most people, which is completely rational reasoning. Prominent ears can cause issues with self-esteem, confidence, and stigma from surrounding people (Naumann, 2008). It can seriously impair the quality of life in certain cases.
Otoplasty will take only about 1-2 hours to complete. The surgeon will make a small incision behind the ear and add stitches. This process will make the ear look pulled back, thus, making it look smaller. It will leave a small scar. But the scar may fade given some time.
There is an incision-free version of the surgery. To do this, the surgeon will insert a needle into the ear cartilage. This process will lend more flexibility to the ear. The surgeon will then adjust the ear as desired through stitches. This modified version of the surgery is reportedly less risky yet still effective.
There are several ways the surgeon may go about the procedure. But generally, the gist is the same. It is a relatively quick and easy surgery that will rarely require an in-patient stay. There are still some risks associated with it. However, these risks rarely occur.
Risks of Otoplasty
Otoplasty is a relatively safe procedure. Most of the time, there will be no complications, and the patient will be in and out. But, just like any other surgery, there is still a degree of risk. Some of the complications that may arise include but are not limited to:
- Blood clot/bruising- a blood clot in the ear may develop, but it may also go away in time. You will know something is wrong if the area feels painful.
- Infection- rarely, otoplasty may result in an infection. The first treatment for infection would be antibiotics, and then surgery in extreme cases. It is important to consult your surgeon if the ear becomes infected.
- Discomfort- discomfort after the surgery may happen. Usually, the surgeon will prescribe medication to ease the discomfort experienced by the patient. However, this will go away in a few days.
It is possible to even further reduce the level of risk of otoplasty. To do this, the patient has to follow the surgeon’s instructions properly. These instructions include the recommendations from the surgeon about recovery.
Recovery will not take very long. In most cases, the patient will feel much better in a day or two. However, surgeons would recommend that the patient does not undergo strenuous activities for the time being. In a week or so, the patient should be able to go on with their regular day to day activities.
Otoplasty is a minor surgery. It is available for anyone interested in making their ears smaller or augmenting their ear shape. It is even available for children. However, some places will only take children above 7.
If you are a guardian interested in getting otoplasty for your child, you should consider their needs above all else. Not every child wants to make changes to their ear. As surgery is still a major undertaking, they need to be on board with the process no matter how minor. This idea is especially true since most applications of otoplasty are cosmetic.
Regardless, for some, otoplasty can be a life-changing procedure. It may not save a person’s life in a literal sense. But it can lend a hand with the quality of life. Better looking ears will also make someone’s self-esteem and outlook of oneself much better.
There are a lot of pros to otoplasty. But it is still a surgery and should be considered as a risk. Make sure that the expert you will be consulting with is a board-certified surgeon. It would be best if you did not try to skimp on price and service quality in these scenarios.