Otoplasty – Post-operative period

Post-operative recuperation is considered to be an integral part of surgery; the achievement of desired results, as well as the success of the operation, depend on it. Therefore, post-operative visits play a pivotal role in the healing process as they allow the early detection and treatment of complications. They are usually held at 7, 14, 28 days, and 3, 6 and 12 months post-op.

Upon discharge, a letter with post-operative instructions will be provided, medication prescribed (antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, pain-killers) and any necessary precautions will be clearly described.

Good personal hygiene is crucial for proper healing and to avoid wound infection. In light of this, the surgeon will provide clear instructions for wound management. For example, during the first week after the surgery, ears must not be wetted.

After surgery, bruises may appear around the ears, which may take approximately two weeks to clear; bruising may be more conspicuous on one side of the face. Swelling, more or less evident according to the individual’s predisposition and the extent of the procedure, subsides significantly in the first two weeks post-op. It may be more apparent on one side. In the days following surgery, it is advisable to sleep with the head facing forwards with additional support (e.g. additional pillows) and to keep the ears cool, so to accelerate swelling resorption.

A compression band is prescribed, which must be worn day and night for seven days and solely at night for four weeks. The band helps to maintain the newly shaped ears, with cartilage moulded in such a way so to prevent the deep sutures being torn. This aftercare is crucial during sleep. Attention must be paid to the correct application of this garment; it must be adjusted and adequately fitted in order to provide even and homogeneous pressure. After surgery, ears must not be exposed to intense cold for at least a month.

Post-operation, patients are unfit for work for one to two weeks in most circumstances.  If prolonged or considerable physical exertion is required, a longer rest period is necessary.  Normal activities such as driving, house-work, sexual intercourse and socialising can be resumed after two weeks. Mild exercise may be resumed after three weeks, but for more intense exercise, it is preferable to wait at least six weeks.

Otoplasty procedures result in fine scars that run along the natural grooves behind the ears, so are virtually invisible.

During post-op visits, starting from the first month, photographs are taken to monitor progress.