Medical literature suggests the revision otoplasty rate has a wide variance, from 0.6 percent to 11 percent. Nevertheless, most patients who need it only require minor corrections involving asymmetry (i.e., “noticeable” difference in the projection between the two sides), under-correction, and scarring.
However, there are various ways to achieve long-lasting and more predictable results from otoplasty and thus minimize the revision otoplasty rate.
Leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley has explained his techniques that help him achieve high patient satisfaction.
- Remove the “offending” cartilage
Some surgeons simply excise some skin and rely heavily on internal sutures to pin back the ears. Dr. Smiley says this “approach” may not provide long-lasting results because the cartilage—a firm but flexible tissue that holds and determines the ear shape—has a rather “strong memory.”
To achieve results that can persist long term, Dr. Smiley highlights the importance of removing and/or “weakening” a small amount of cartilage, in addition to the use of correct suturing techniques.
- Wait until ear growth is near complete
While otoplasty can be performed as early as two years of age, waiting until the patient reaches five offers some unique advantages since during this period ear growth is near complete (about 90 percent). This makes it easier for surgeons to assess the ideal projection of the ear, and deliver results that will most likely last a lifetime.
- Importance of scar placement and wound closure
The incision must lie precisely at the ear-scalp junction for optimal scar concealment. Furthermore, it should be closed in several layers so the skin surface will receive no or very little tension, leading to more “favorable” scarring.
Medical literature suggests that a good number of patients seeking revision otoplasty want to hide or at least improve the appearance of their scars.
- Avoid infection
Poor scarring from otoplasty is sometimes linked to infection, which can be avoided by taking antibiotics, performing proper wound care, avoiding tobacco products and aspirin (and other blood thinners), and reaching one’s optimal health prior to surgery.