Otoplasty is a surgical procedure performed to reshape the ears. Adults, teens, and children may undergo this procedure to make the ears smaller or to pull the ears in so they protrude less from the sides of the head. It is no secret that the appearance of the ears can cause quite a bit of stress and even heartache for a person. For this reason, otoplasty is a viable consideration for patients of just about any age.
The benefits of otoplasty are profound. Even knowing this, a person considering this surgery may harbor concern about the recovery process. Here, we offer a brief timeline of healing for those who undergo otoplasty.
If you are considering otoplasty for your child, check back next month for tips on how to help your child navigate their otoplasty recovery.
What to Expect After Otoplasty
People tend to think that they or their loved one will be in quite a bit of pain after an ear surgery like otoplasty. Truthfully, the discomfort that occurs after surgery is typically far less than a person anticipates. Prescription pain medication may be taken initially, but many patients find that they can manage comfort nicely with over-the-counter medication within a few days of their procedure. In general, healing progresses in the following timeline:
- During the first 24 hours after surgery, the ears will feel sore. They will be swollen. However, this may be hidden beneath the compression dressing that is applied around the ears.
- For the first three days after surgery, swelling subsides significantly. This is most noticeable at the end of the third day, but may still be relatively hidden under the compression dressing that still needs to be worn.
- Throughout the remainder of the first week, comfort increases noticeably. After one week, patients may return to work so long as their occupation is not physically demanding. Strenuous activity will need to be postponed until cleared by the surgeon.
- By the end of week two, swelling is all but gone, and comfort is nearly back to 100 percent. Swelling continues to subside for another few months.
Supporting Otoplasty Recovery
One of the first and most crucial aspects of otoplasty surgery is to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon who is familiar with this procedure. Ask questions. Not all surgeons are well-versed in all procedures. In our practice, we conduct both cosmetic and reconstructive procedures frequently, including otoplasty.
After surgery, it is beneficial to support a smooth and speedy recovery by taking sufficient time to slow down. Some patients don’t feel like doing much other than sleeping for a few days. This is actually ideal, minus short walks here and there. The body needs to be able to use as much energy as possible to heal. Reserve your return to work until you feel more energetic, and only resume activities when approved by the surgeon.