This procedure is appropriate for patients with ears that stick out too far from the side of the head or ears that have an unusual or unattractive shape.

Appropriate candidates for this procedure are in good general health. Surgery on children with prominent ears is deferred until the age of five, at which time the ear has nearly fully grown.

Patients considering otoplasty are seen in consultation with Dr. Casso, who elicits background medical information. The ears are carefully examined, and the patient is queried about the specifics of his or her concerns.

Plans are then made for a surgical correction of the deformity.

In most cases, there is inadequate curvature in the antihelical fold (one of the cartilaginous folds of the ear). In some patients, there may be excess protrusion of the conchal cartilage (the bowl shaped cartilage adjacent to the ear opening).

The proposed correction is discussed with the patient to assure that it adequately addresses his or her concerns.

Otoplasty is often performed by Dr. Casso in his office under local anesthesia and light oral sedation. In children, it is usually performed under general anesthesia at Houston Methodist St. John Hospital, which provides the patient with a comfortable surgical experience, and close, expert nursing attention, treatment of postoperative nausea, if present, and immediate medical attention in the event of any unforeseen emergency. The option for surgery in a full-service, state-of-the-art facility such as Houston Methodist St. John provides patients with a measure of safety and security which is unmatched.

Incisions are made behind the ear, and internal sutures are applied to the cartilage, resulting in a natural ear fold. Excess cartilage may be removed. The wounds are then repaired and dressed.

Moderate postoperative discomfort is controlled with oral medication.

Patients may remove dressings the day after surgery and resume daily showers and shampooing. A compression wrap is worn at night to avoid inadvertent trauma to the ears.

Generally, sutures are removed within one week.

Bruising and most swelling resolve within two weeks. Light activities generally resume within one week. Vigorous exercise is discouraged for about a month.

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