Otoplasty Surgeon

After deciding that you are interested in otoplasty for yourself or your child, choosing the right plastic surgeon is one of the important next steps. What follows are some recommendations on how to choose the right surgeon for cosmetic ear surgery.

Find a Plastic Surgeon that Fits Your Philosophy

Unlike other surgical specialties, cosmetic surgery represents at least in part an art form. In order to achieve an esthetically desirable outcome, the plastic surgeon should have an eye for harmonious facial balance and respect for the delicate facial structures, including the ears. Probably the most important step in preparing otoplasty is identifying the appropriate plan, something that should not be rushed. Therefore, the plastic surgeon will analyze your face and outline the appropriate treatment plan. Sometimes, great discrepancies may arise between your aesthetic goals and the ones set forth by the plastic surgeon. These differences should be discussed openly and honestly before the ear surgery, certainly not afterwards. Certainly, the surgeon should not pitch a sale but have your well-being in mind.

Who Performs Otoplasty?

With the tremendous increase in understanding of deformities, the field of plastic surgery has also enjoyed new procedures and techniques. The plastic surgeon who is experienced at every aspect of the field is almost obsolete in today’s demanding environment. Because of this sub-specialization trend, plastic surgery today represents a technique applied in various specialties. Modern ear plastic surgery is mainly performed by otolaryngologists (ENT surgeons), facial plastic surgeons and plastic surgeons although usually only a minority subset of surgeons performs otoplasty. Many general plastic surgeons, for instance, focus entirely on sub-specialties such as hand surgery, free flap reconstructive surgery, breast surgery and body-sculpting. And although otoplasty represents a part of an ENT surgeon’s training, most practicing otolaryngologists do not perform otoplasty either. Within otolaryngology – head and neck surgery, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery has emerged as another distinct sub-specialty and most facial plastic surgeons perform otoplasty. It is extremely rare that physicians of other specialty (i.e. dermatology, oral surgery, general surgery) perform ear plastic surgery.

Experience Counts in Plastic Ear Surgery

The technical options for otoplasty have changed dramatically over the last 20 years. Somewhat similar to nasal reshaping surgery (rhinoplasty), modern otoplasty relies on re-sculpting of the ear rather than removal of certain parts. A normal looking ear is positioned close enough to the side of the head, but it should not be too close. Surgically, it is probably relatively easy to get parts of the ear closer to the head, but the balanced and natural look with a soft ear contour is often more difficult to achieve. The ears have a rather complex structure making every ear unique in shape and deformity. The experienced otoplasty surgeon will enjoy the detail-oriented work related to ear plastic surgery. In addition, experience gained from many previously performed ear procedures is crucial in pre-operative assessment, procedure planning and proper execution of otoplasty.

How important is the Surgeon’s Board Certification?

Unfortunately, the question of board certification is sometimes abused for “turf battles” leaving patients sometimes confused and misinformed. Board certification is a main factor to consider in the decision making as it represents whether a surgeon has met the stringent certification criteria set forth by the independent specialty board. When it comes to specific procedures, it is important to know if this procedure is part of the scope of practice for this specialist. For instance, a neurologist would not be a good otoplasty surgeon, no matter if he is board-certified or not. ENT surgeons, facial plastic surgeons and general plastic surgeons all include otoplasty in their board certification requirements. But beyond the surgeon’s training, board-certification in itself holds limited value in understanding the doctor’s practice and skill for a very specific procedure such as otoplasty.

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