Dr Mistry Explains: Otoplasty (Ear) Surgery

Cosmetic Ear Surgery

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Potential Risks

As with any surgery, otoplasty procedures carries the potential of risks and complications. Some of these risks include:

  • Changes in sensation in area around ear and skin. This may involve permanent or temporary loss of feeling.
  • Risks related to anaesthesia, such as nausea, soft throat, chest infections, and allergic reactions.
  • Pain or bruising.
  • There may be potential scarring after the surgery.
  • There may need to be provisional surgery, if necessary.
  • Allergic reactions to dressings or solutions.

Recovery After Surgery

After surgery, it is recommended that someone stays with you for 24 hours. Your ears will be covered with a bulky bandage that will remain in place for 7 to 10 days.

You are likely to experience swelling and discomfort during this time.

After the 7-10 days, you will need to be seen at the clinic to remove bandages and re-dress the wounds. You are likely to find that your ears are bruised and swollen. Your ears are likely to be uneven, but this will settle over time as they heal.

Cosmetic Ear Surgery

Frequently Asked

Otoplasty, also known as ear pinning or cosmetic ear surgery, is a procedure that can improve the shape and position of an individual’s ears. This surgery is often recommended for those with deformed, uneven, or overly large ears and is commonly performed to bring protruding ears closer to the head.

No. Having larger ears, or ears that are more prominent, does not affect your ability to hear.

There is a Medicare number for reconstructive ear surgery, but only if certain conditions are met. Your GP or Dr Mistry can advise whether you meet the qualifications for a Medicare rebate on ear surgery. The rebate is only available to patients under 18.

The timeline for seeing results after an otoplasty procedure can vary depending on the individual and the extent of the surgery. Typically, patients can expect to see a noticeable improvement in the appearance of their ears within a few weeks of the procedure, with the final results becoming fully apparent after several months. It’s important to follow post-operative instructions from your surgeon to ensure proper healing and optimise the final outcome.

The age at which a patient can undergo otoplasty depends on individual factors and should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In general, otoplasty is often performed on children aged five or older when ear development is nearly complete. However, there is no strict age limit, and adults can also benefit from otoplasty.

Understanding the difference between cosmetic surgery vs. plastic and reconstructive surgery

Cosmetic surgery is a medical specialty that primarily focuses on enhancing a patient’s appearance. It is associated with aesthetic goals aimed at improving or altering physical features to achieve a more pleasing look. 

Cosmetic surgery procedures are entirely elective, and they are not typically covered by Medicare or private health funds. In most cases, patients pay for cosmetic surgeries out of their own pockets.

One important distinction to note is that cosmetic surgery is not associated with the Medical Benefits Schedule (MBS) in Australia, and as a result, there are no corresponding MBS item numbers or codes for these procedures. Therefore, individuals who choose to undergo cosmetic surgery can expect to bear the full cost of the procedure. Surgical costs include (but are not limited to): 

  • Fee for surgeon
  • Fee for anaesthetist
  • Fee for theatre

Plastic and reconstructive surgery, on the other hand, is a medical specialty that is primarily concerned with restoring or improving the aesthetic and function of the body. 

These procedures often involve addressing congenital abnormalities, trauma-related injuries, or medical conditions that affect a person’s appearance or bodily functions. Importantly, many plastic and reconstructive surgery procedures may qualify for coverage by private health fund providers.

In Australia, plastic and reconstructive surgery procedures are typically associated with MBS item numbers. If the criteria specified in the MBS guidelines are met, private health fund providers may partially cover the cost of these procedures. This means that patients who meet the necessary requirements under their insurance policy can benefit from reduced out-of-pocket expenses when undergoing plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Surgeries such as Abdominoplasty for example can be both a cosmetic or reconstructive procedure.

Please Note: Information provided on Dr Mistry’s website is provided as a basic guide, it does not constitute a diagnosis and should not be taken as medical advice. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks.