Dr. Kridel in Vogue Magazine, where he was
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Ears that don't do you any favors, looks-wise, can be a lifelong source of embarrassment.
If yours are too large, uneven, misshapen, or stick straight out, you've probably been hearing about it for years. The nicknames are varied and take on different levels of cruelty, but the good news is, no one has to live with this deformity, thanks to a procedure called otoplasty.
Questions & Answers
Can children have ear surgery?
Sometimes called an ear pinback, otoplasty can be done anytime after the age of four, when ear cartilage is relatively firm and nearly adult-size. Young children do well with the procedure, so it's wise to have this done early to protect your child from teasing that can damage his self-image. Of course, adults can benefit, too. (Since this is a congenital condition, otoplasty is covered by insurance if it is performed by age 17.)
What happens during ear surgery?
The otoplasty procedure takes two hours. Adults usually have local anesthesia and go home the same day. Dr. Kridel uses general anesthesia on children, which means they will stay in the hospital for 24 hours after surgery.
During Ear Pinning Dr. Kridel makes an incision behind the ear and trims away excess skin and cartilage. He puts stitches in the cartilage to create folds that weren't there before and makes small adjustments to give the ear a natural appearance. What it amounts to, in many cases, is "repositioning" protruding ears.
What should I expect after ear surgery?
Otoplasty patients experience very little pain, although your ears may feel tender for several weeks.
You can expect some discoloration and swelling.
Following surgery, you'll wear a turban-like dressing to protect your ears (adults, two days; children, five).
After removal of the turban, you'll wear an exercise headband over your ears when you sleep for the next two weeks.
Children usually return to school a week after surgery. Adults often resume normal activities the day after.
You can wash your hair five days after the procedure, but you'll need to avoid anything strenuous for three weeks.
Don't be concerned about scarring. The thin scars from otoplasty incisions are located behind each ear and well-hidden by natural folds of skin.