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Ear Surgery

Ear Surgery in New Orleans, LA

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Overly large ears, ears that stick out, or otherwise deformed ears can create an unbalanced facial appearance. This may cause embarrassment for many people ranging from children to adults. Ear irregularities can be natural or caused by injury to the ear. New Orleans cosmetic surgeon Dr. Kamran Khoobehi performs otoplasty (ear surgery) to resize, pin down, or reposition ears that appear irregular. Ideal candidates are in good general health and over six years of age. Ear surgery can be performed on children once their ears have reached full growth and cartilage strength, which normally occurs around six years of age.

Torn Earlobe Care

Ear surgery may also involve a torn earlobe. This can occur with heavy earrings or through other trauma. The surgical repair of a torn earlobe is generally straightforward. The skin cleft between the two sides of the tear is removed, and using either a skin graft or donated cartilage, a new lobe is reconstructed. Sutures are used that are placed in both the front and back of the ear and will remain intact for several weeks.  Several post-operative visits may be required so that the sutures can be removed in several phases to ensure the lobe is strong and aesthetically appealing. 

Surgical Technique

In the cases of protruding ears, the cartilages are reformed and sometimes supported by splints. Soft tissues may also be trimmed away. The incisions are made behind the ear to reveal the ear’s confines. The ears will be repositioned by tightening the skin and then sutured. In cases of hidden ears, when cartilages are not fully developed, manipulations may include reshaping the cartilages by pulling or repositioning while splints are placed as supports. Sometimes, tissue grafting is also necessary to render volume. Our doctors will perform ear reduction and ear pinning in varying forms:

Size Reduction:  To reduce the size of the ear, an incision is made along the antihelical fold (just below the edge on the back of the ear). Cartilage is removed, and the skin is sutured together. This decreases the surface area of the conchal cartilage (the large, deep cavity of the external ear), making it appear smaller.

Ear Pinning: For small children whose ear cartilage is soft, the ears can be pinned back using splints. Splints work only on soft cartilage that can still be molded and contoured effectively. In adults, the hard cartilage must be removed or repositioned in order to pin the ear back. This is done through an incision similar to the one used for size reduction (along the antihelical fold). Once the cartilage is displaced, sutures hold the ear in place so it lays closer to the side of the head.

During/After Surgery

Otoplasties are performed with general anesthesia in an accredited surgical facility. It takes 1 to 2 hours to complete, and the patient will be sent home for recovery. The ear will be bandaged to keep the new position and shape in place. This also helps so that children cannot touch or play with their ears, which may complicate healing. Activities must be limited, especially within the first week. Scars will remain hidden behind the ears or within the natural folds if the incisions are made in front of the ear.

Expected Cost

Ear surgery, depending on the case, can run between $900 to $6,200. For more complex cases, these costs may increase. Generally, health insurance does not cover cosmetic procedures such as otoplasty. However, there are rare exemptions especially if trauma occurred or if a birth defect is in question. 

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Average Cost  
$900 - $6,200
Recovery Time  
1-2 Weeks
Average Procedure Time  
2 Hours
Procedure Recovery Location  
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Ear Surgery FAQs

Lasting Results?

The ears typically mature faster than any other part of the body, therefore, at an appropriate age and time when surgical adjustments are made, the results are generally long lasting. Even as the body changes due to age and gravity, the changes to the ear will be minimal and a secondary otoplasty is usually not needed.

When To Have Otoplasty?

On average, 5-6 year olds are ideal candidates for otoplasty as the ear will be already developed and the cartilage and tissues will still be soft, making it easy to reshape. This age is also recommended as it is a time before any schooling, which helps to avoid teasing.

One Or Both Ears?

Usually, the condition is symmetrical to both ears. The final shape that the surgery will aim for will depend on the initial structure of the ear and how cartilages are placed. If the procedure is only for one ear, the shape will be patterned after the normally formed ear.  

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* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary. These prices include all associated fees including OR and Anesthesia when applicable.