Question: My ears stick out much too far. What is done during otoplasty surgery to bring them closer to the head?
Answer: There are a few different approaches to otoplasty. The otoplasty procedure that will work best for any individual depends on a few different variables. The age of the patient and the overall shape and size of the ear, just to name a few. When a patient is very young, cartilage abrasion through small incisions in the ear and a proper fitting dressing may be all that is needed to correct the shape of the ear. Most patients require more than that.
There are a few schools of thought in how to best correct the shape of the ear. There are those who use cartilage cutting techniques, and those who use cartilage folding and suturing techniques. Sometimes a combination of the two techniques is necessary in very prominent ears. I tend to favor cartilage folding techniques. During the otoplasty procedure the poorly formed anti helix is created in the pinna using a Mustarde technique. If after the normal contour of the ear is corrected the ear still is sticking out, then I use a Furnass setback suture in order to bring the ear closer to the head on front and back views. I like the cartilage sculpting and folding techniques because they are reversible in the early stages and adjustable. More importantly, they leave the ear looking natural without any of the sharp transitions in the ear architecture that is so apparent in the cartilage cutting technique.