When we discuss facial balance, the term generally refers to how the features work together in regards to size, shape, and projection, to facilitate a balanced, symmetrical, and aesthetically pleasing face. For many people, the nose is an area of concern, as an overly large nose can throw off the balance of the face as a whole. Less discussed, but no less important, are the ears. For many people, the ears are a source of embarrassment, as protruding ears are a common problem. However, another aspect of protruding ears is how they affect overall facial balance and aesthetics. If you have been considering otoplasty (cosmetic ear surgery) for pulling in protruding ears, here is what you need to know about how that procedure can affect facial balance as well.
The Procedure and Recovery
Often known as “ear pinning”, otoplasty is actually an ear reshaping procedure, typically used to correct problems like protruding ears or the “lop ear” deformity. Otoplasty is an outpatient procedure that involves the use of discreet incisions to pull the ear in closer to the head and reshape any deformities in the ear.
Recovery is relatively easy, and lasts about 10 days. The most challenging part is typically sleeping without disturbing the healing ears. Medication prescribed will help control any post-operative discomfort.
Otoplasty for Improved Aesthetics and Facial Balance
For most people considering otoplasty, the main motivation is usually to get rid of a source of embarrassment that has plagued them since childhood: protruding ears. Often a trigger for bullies, most patients are anxious to pull in their ears as soon as possible and forget the trauma of the past. However, there is another benefit to the treatment as well—pulling the ears closer to the head can make the rest of the features look more balanced and symmetrical. Looking at before and after photos of otoplasty patients, you can see the dramatic differences in proportion and facial balance that are often present following surgery.
Otoplasty patients should be prepared for some surprising changes in appearance following the surgery. While most patients find these changes to facial balance positive, you should be ready for an adjustment period and be realistic about your results from the procedure.
Combining Procedures for Facial Balance
Because one feature is not always the sole issue in facial balance, many people decide to have more than one procedure performed for comprehensive results. For example, rhinoplasty is a procedure often performed with other surgeries to help ensure harmony between the facial features. Changing one feature will also sometimes make other features seem out of sync, which may prompt a combination procedure. If you are thinking about combining procedures, you should talk to your plastic surgery and get his or her advice on improving your overall facial aesthetics.
Not Just for Children
Because the ears mature at an early age, it is a common practice to have the procedure performed when a child is 4-5 years of age, before any teasing or bullying at school can begin. However, many adults are good candidates for the procedure as well, and choose to have the procedure during young adulthood. Some parents do not move forward with the procedure early in life due to reluctance or lack of means, and many young adults seek ear reshaping once they themselves have the decision-making power. While ear cartilage is less flexible as we become adults, there is no significant difference in otoplasty for adults and for children.
Choosing the Right Surgeon
The most difficult part of the otoplasty process is often choosing the right plastic surgeon. It is important to have your procedure performed by a board certified plastic surgeon who specializes in facial surgery and understands the delicate balance of facial aesthetics. Dr. Stuart Bentkover is an experienced and artistic plastic surgeon offering patients natural-looking results in the Boston area. If you are interested in discussing your goals for surgery with an expert, come to Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery in Worcester (508-363-6500) or Stoneham (617-247-0033), MA for a consultation with Dr. Bentkover. Call either location today to schedule your consultation.