Otoplasties (ear surgery) leave a small scar in the fold behind the ear, except when it comes to reducing the helix. These operations are usually performed on adults and teenagers under local anaesthesia. Some surgeons will remove a small piece of skin behind the ear, but this technique does not allow a sustainable result, unless the cartilage is very flexible. The cartilage usually hardens with age. It is therefore very important to adapt the cartilage in order to get a stable result.
Prominent ears (when the cartilage called concha is overdeveloped) can easily be corrected by shortening the small muscle behind the ear, thus bringing the ear closer to the mastoid. The procedure is simple and causes little swelling after surgery, but it can only be done if the ear has a normal shape. A small piece of concha can possibly be withdrawn if the muscle resection is insufficient.
When the folds of the antihelix are not sufficiently developed, it is possible to recreate them. This operation requires making tiny claws on the front of the ear cartilage to make it more flexible and foldable.
When the ear edge (helix) is not sufficiently formed, the ears are small and rounded. This type of otoplasty is the most complicated. The helix must be extended and an intervention leaves scarring above and below the ear.
When the ear is too large, a small piece must be removed in order to shorten it. This technique leaves no scar on the front of the ear, but a small mark is often visible on the cartilage because it is very difficult to suture the ends properly against the edge of the ear once reduced.
A bandage is placed after the procedure and must be worn for 5 days. A bandeau must then be worn at night for 4 weeks. The stitches are removed after two weeks.