Pinnaplasty surgery or surgery to change the shape of the ears is often indicated for ears which protrude too far from the side of the head. This is often because of a developmental variation in the folding of the ear cartilage or overgrowth of the concha or bowl of the ear. There are other subtle ear anomalies which may benefit from surgery and specific concerns can be discussed on a case by case basis.
Mr Walsh will go over the options available to you regarding potential ear surgery during your consultation. An evaluation of your health status and any pre-existing conditions may be necessary. He will also discuss the possible outcomes of ear surgery using imaging software as well as the risks or potential complications during your consultation at our St Kilda clinic.
Preparing for your pinnaplasty surgery
Mr Walsh will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for pinnaplasty surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking cessation, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. Carefully following these instructions will help your surgery go more smoothly.
If you smoke, it’s especially important to stop at least two to three weeks before and after surgery; smoking inhibits blood flow to the skin, and can interfere with the healing of your incision areas. Even after stopping smoking before the procedure you may be at increased risk for complications.
Whether your ear surgery is being performed on an outpatient or inpatient basis, you should arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery and to help you out for a day or two if needed.
Where your pinnaplasty surgery will be performed
Mr Walsh prefers to perform ear surgery on patients in a private hospital. This surgery is usually done as a day case, but sometimes an overnight stay is necessary. Certain conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure should be monitored after surgery, and may also require a short inpatient stay.
Types of anaesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. Mr Walsh usually prefers his patients to have general anaesthesia for this type of operation.
Pinnaplasty surgery usually takes 1-2 hours or somewhat longer if you’re having more than one procedure done. Most ear surgeries are performed through an incison on the back of the ear. Skin closure is almost always performed with dissolving sutures. More specific details about the surgery will be discussed during your consultion.
Safety and risks regarding pinnaplasty surgery
Mr Walsh will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks and potential complications.
The risks of pinnaplasty surgery include but are not limited to:
- Unfavorable scarring
- Bleeding/bruising (haematoma)
- Poor wound healing
- Anaesthesia risks
- Skin discoloration, sensitivity or swelling
- Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal
- Possibility of revisional surgery
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Facial asymmetry
- Skin loss
- Numbness or other changes in skin sensation
- Fluid accumulation
- Pain, which may persist
- Skin contour irregularities
- Unsatisfactory results may include asymmetry, unsatisfactory surgical scar location, unacceptable visible deformities at the ends of the incisions (it may be necessary to perform additional surgery to improve your results)
After the procedure you will be wrapped in a light bandage. This is often kept on for a few days. Following this, a dressing in the form of a balaclava is often worn at home for a few weeks following surgery and may be recommended to be worn at night for a month or more. This is to stabilise the ears in their new position. Swelling will be present for several weeks but most of the swelling will resolve in the first couple of weeks. Usually one week off work is recommended depending on your occupation.
Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.