Karol Gutowski, MD, FACS

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Ear Surgery

Ear Surgery (Otoplasty) – Torn Earlobe Repair – Chicago, IL

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When ears have an abnormal appearance, otoplasty or ear surgery can repair ears by manipulating the cartilage to reshape, resize and/or reshape ears as needed. With otoplasty, Chicago plastic surgeon Dr. Karol Gutowski can treat excessively large and protruding ears known as cup ears, as well as underdeveloped ears. These and other ear deformities can be caused by birth defects or an injury. Along with otoplasty, Dr. Karol Gutowski also performs earlobe repair surgery, which can result from wearing overly heavy earrings or piercings that have affected the overall appearance of the ear. There are a number of methods Dr. Gutowski can consider based on the condition of your ear and earlobe.

Torn Earlobe/Piercing

Ear surgery may also involve repairing a torn earlobe. This can occur with heavy earrings or through injury. The repair of a torn earlobe is generally straightforward. The skin cleft between the two sides of the tear is removed and a new lobe is reconstructed. Sutures are placed in the front and back of the ear and are removed after one week. 

Patients with multiple piercings or with an unsightly appearance due to scarring can have it cosmetically corrected with an excision method. Dr. Gutowski will use a local anesthetic and carefully cut around the piercing to remove it to create a normal ear appearance.

Surgical Technique

In the cases of protruding ears, the incisions are made behind the ear and the cartilage is reshaped. 

During/After Surgery

Otoplasties are performed either awake with a local anesthetic or asleep with anesthesia in an accredited surgical facility. It takes 1 – 2 hours to complete, and the patient will be sent home for recovery. The ear will be bandaged to keep the new position and shape in place. This also helps so that children cannot touch or play with their ears, which may complicate healing. Activities must be limited, especially within the first week. Scars will remain hidden behind the ears or within the natural folds if the incisions are made in front of the ear.

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Ear Surgery FAQs

Lasting Results?

The ears generally mature faster than most other body parts; therefore, at an appropriate age and time when surgical adjustments are made, the results are generally long-lasting. Even as the body changes due to age and gravity, the changes to the ear will be minimal and a secondary otoplasty is usually not needed.

When To Have Otoplasty?

On average, 5 – 6-year-olds are ideal candidates for otoplasty as the ear will be already developed and the cartilage and tissues will still be soft, making it easier to reshape. This age is also recommended as it is a time before any schooling, which helps to avoid teasing.

One Or Both Ears?

Usually, the condition is symmetrical to both ears. The final shape that the surgery will aim for will depend on the initial structure of the ear and how cartilages are placed. If the procedure is only for one ear, the shape will be patterned after the normally formed ear.  

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*Unless otherwise indicated, images are models. In cases where before and after pictures are shown, these are actual patients. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person.