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Otoplasty, also referred to as ear-pinning surgery, is a relatively quick cosmetic surgery procedure, typically taking between one and two hours to complete. Following a successful procedure, the healing process may take up to 12 weeks, but occurs in stages, and may be affected by outside factors.
In the following guide, the experts at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors will outline the ear-pinning surgery and healing process to help you understand exactly what is involved, including the risks, results and what you should do to ensure success.
There are two methods that cosmetic surgeons use to perform otoplasty. However, the safety and effectiveness of the new 'incisionless' technique is still being debated among many cosmetic surgery experts, so we will focus on the classic and more commonly practised method in this guide.
To learn more about incisionless otoplasty, visit this government resource.
Typically, otoplasty is performed by making small incisions behind the ear, then reshaping the position of the ear with stitches. This is where otoplasty gets the name 'ear-pinning'. In some cases, small amounts of cartilage will be removed from the back of the ear to reshape it.
Cosmetic surgeons will usually use a local anaesthetic to reduce any pain felt, and patients are generally sent home the same day of their operation. This makes it one of the more simple cosmetic surgeries. However, that does not mean it is without risk, so patients should make sure they get the right aftercare instructions from their surgeon following the process, and should do everything possible to follow them.
Following the otoplasty surgery process, the surgeon may wrap the patient's head in a bandage to keep it clean and limit bleeding. The pain felt is typically light and gentle painkillers, such as paracetamol, can be used to aid it. It is recommended to keep the bandage on until the surgeon removes it around a week after the surgery. Until this time, the patient must not wash their hair or get the bandage wet.
In some cases, the surgeon will not use a bandage. The same rules still apply regarding washing.
Otoplasty patients may be recommended to wear a headband to protect the ears from knocks and hold them in place so they can heal properly. Patients should avoid any strenuous activity until the surgeon permits it - typically between one and two weeks after the surgery.
When showering, otoplasty patients should avoid submerging their heads in water and avoid taking baths as the bathwater can become dirty, increasing the risk of infection. Instead, allow water to gently drain over the head and ensure any soap is washed out of the affected areas.
After a month, activities such as swimming may become possible again, and after three months, intense physical activity may be safe.
The otoplasty recovery process is simple, but things can still go wrong, especially due to the ears' exposed position on the body. Side effects of otoplasty may include small scars, pain and tenderness, and light bruising, but all of these are normal.
Something may have gone wrong if the ears become inflamed or stiff and there is a lot of pain. The ears may also become asymmetrical, which may be a less desirable state than they were in prior to the surgery.
Other side effects include a blood clot forming or infection of the wounds. If any of these side effects occur, you should speak to a medical expert as soon as possible.
However, if you believe that your cosmetic surgeon may have caused your healing to go wrong, you should seek help from a different medical professional, such as your GP. They will inform you as to what may have caused the issue and will help you find aid.
Once you have sought medical help, you should consider speaking to a solicitor. Those at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors have decades of experience in helping individuals seek compensation for clinical negligence suffered at the hands of cosmetic surgeons who failed to do their job properly.
Any cosmetic surgery can have dangerous repercussions if performed incorrectly, and you could be eligible to claim compensation to help you seek corrective surgery and medical or mental health support.