The word “surgery” brings a lot of stress with it. Whether it is a minor or a major one, people are worried on the same scale. If you have ever been recommended a surgical procedure, you can certainly understand this. But when it comes to cosmetic surgeries, the reaction becomes a little different. As people are too determined to see the result in their bodies, their worry turns down. Even if it is a major cosmetic surgical process, you will not see people being anxious. One such procedure is otoplasty, or as you may know ear surgery.
Some people have deformed ears from birth, while others get them disfigured due to an injury. Whatever may be the cause, they can get their ear formed like usual with the help of ear surgery. The two primary reasons why people opt for this surgical procedure are:
- Confidence: As ears pop out from the side of your face, they can entirely change the way you look. That is why deformed ears can lead to a lack of confidence. This is common in kids, and sometimes they also face bullying in school for the same reason. With the help of ear surgery, they can form their ears as usual. So they do not have to face much trouble.
- Hearing Issues: People rarely experience hearing issues due to some deformities in the outer part. It is because the ear’s outer layer has a minimal role in the hearing process. But if they do, they can get their ear to work like usual with the help of ear surgery.
The first reason is more significant than the second one for people to opt for the surgical procedure. That is why it is seen that ear surgeries are popular in kids, even though they can be done in adults as well.
Coming back to the fear of surgery, otoplasty does not scare people much. However, it does not mean that ear surgery does not require downtime. There are not just one but several things that you need to take care of after successful ear surgery. Only then can you obtain the desired results. Let us move on and see the facts and myths stated about ear surgery recovery.
Myths and Facts Regarding Ear Surgery Recovery
Before we go on with the things that you need to watch out for, let’s bust some myths regarding post-surgery care and results.
Myth 1: It will drastically affect hearing
As stated earlier, the outer layer of the ear does not play much crucial role in hearing. So you can not expect a drastic alteration in the hearing process. A little difference may be made with the shape of the ear changing. But there would not be any significant change.
Myth 2: The surgery will result in flawlessly symmetrical ears
In case you are opting for the surgery only due to this reason, stop right there. Do not have false expectations from the procedure. Though your surgeon can try to keep the ears as symmetrical as possible, there will still be a slight difference between the two. So you should not get disappointed with the results.
Myth 3: The recovery will take a long time
If the fear of wearing a bandage around your head for months is stopping you from the ear surgery, you can relax now. You will need to follow a routine and some precautions for a week or two. But after that, you can continue with your regular work, plus, there will possibly be no signs of redness or bruising. Therefore, the recovery is not as long or as painful as you think.
Myth 4: You will need to stay at the hospital
The word surgery usually interprets that you will need to spend a few days at the hospital. But that is not the case with ear surgery. It is an outpatient procedure. So you can leave the hospital/medical facility within hours of your operation. That means you will not be required to stay overnight there.
Recovering From Ear Surgery
Now that we have burst all the myths let us see what exactly your ear surgery recovery period will look like. You must know that recovering from ear surgery is not much challenging. You may face a little difficulty with some regular tasks, but it will get okay within a few weeks. Through the below-mentioned points, you will get an idea of what should be done and what should be avoided during the recovery process.
#1 Keeping The Ears Protected
Most ear surgeries are done to setback the popping ears so that they do not let your face look weird. In order to keep the ears in place and make sure their shape remains protected following the procedure, you need to wear a headband around them. The surgeon will provide you with a proper broad bandage at first. But it will be removed within the initial seven days after the surgery.
Succeeding that, it will be essential for you to wear a headband throughout the day and night. Your doctor will guide you on how long this should be done. In usual cases, the headband goes around for two weeks post-surgery. Once your ears are set in their place, you get a relaxation of removing the band in the daytime. But the night treatment still goes on for some time. Also, you would be recommended to wear clothes that do not need to be worn through the head, i.e., button-down shirts. It is done to secure the ears from getting hurt and keep them in place properly.
#2 Keep The Head Up
Swelling is inevitable in any surgical procedure, especially cosmetic ones. So you will have to deal with significant swelling in the treated area for a few weeks. During this time, you will need to take exceptional care of the position of your head. The more you bend it or lay it down, the more blood will flow through the ears. This can worsen the condition and can also lead to issues like bleeding.
That is why it would be recommended that you do not bend much during the daytime so that your head is kept up. While sleeping, you will need to keep your head elevated using two thick pillows. It will ensure that the swelling soothes out on time, and you do not experience much discomfort.
#3 Eat Good
Eating a healthy and balanced diet should not be recovery-specific. You must follow proper food habits every day, with or without surgery. It ensures that you remain fit for a longer time and do not go through health issues. The importance of this habit increases when your body needs extra attention during the recovery process. In case you do not know what nutrients would be beneficial for you, you can consult a dietitian. They will guide you with the best foods that will help you in healing.
You may also need to include some food items that you never liked. Do not avoid them at any cost. If the dietitian has recommended it, you will need to consume it. Only then will you have a faster and more proper recovery from the surgery.
#4 Do Not Touch Or Rub
If you have never noticed, you can count how many times you touch or rub your ears throughout the day. The number will shock you for sure. But you will have to break this pattern post-surgery. Doctors suggest that you keep your hands off the ears for as long as attainable. It will help in the proper healing of the treated area. You may encounter a little itch, but you must avoid rubbing your ears in this case.
This is a special precaution for children who go through the surgical procedure. As children do not know the adverse effects of unnecessarily touching their ears during recovery, they can do it by mistake. If your kid has had the surgery, you need to keep exceptional care that they do not rub their ears. It can harm the treated part and worsen the swelling. You may also encounter several problems by doing this.
#5 Avoid Smoking
Except for being generally harmful to health, smoking can slow down your recovery process. It happens because of the carbon monoxide that is present in the smoke. When it goes in your blood, it lowers the oxygen in it. Due to a lack of oxygen in the treated area, the wounds can not heal properly. That is why you must cut out on smoking as much as possible.
Along with this, you should also avoid going to the areas where the smoke is present. For example, you should not sit with friends or family members who smoke or avoid going into locations that are usually filled with smokers. This will ensure that your body does not consume smoke from anywhere, and it will heal faster.
#6 Avoid Scratching Incision Lines
When your incision lines begin healing, your nerve cells get stimulated. It can cause itchiness, which is perfectly normal. But if you want to keep them safe, you must avoid scratching the incision lines. You can also keep your nails short so that you do not end up damaging your ears unknowingly. Your surgeon will suggest proper actions that you can take if the itch gets uncontrollable.
In case there is redness, heat, or discharge accompanying the itch, you must contact your doctor. These can be signs of infection. When you inform the experts on time, they can take proper measures to avoid disasters or significant issues. So, as soon as you encounter any of these signs, you must tell your surgeon about it. They will advise you about what has to be done.
#7 A Little Discharge Is Normal
If you find a little fluid coming out from the outer ear in the first couple of weeks post-surgery, you need not panic. This usually happens after almost all surgical procedures. The fluid can be red-tinged, thick, or dark. You can wipe it with the help of a cotton swab. Remember to clean the discharge with soft hands and do not rub the area. Plus, never put the cotton swab inside the ear canal.
In a condition where you experience excessive drainage from your ear, you must consult the surgeon. The reason is, discharge is normal until it is light. As it gets heavy, it may point out an underlying problem. You can inform your doctor and ask about possible reasons for the excessive drainage.
#8 Do Not Go In Extreme Temperatures
One major problem you will face after the surgery is that your ears will be numb. As they lack sensation, you will not be able to detect some of the damages. That is why extensive care is required during this period. For that, you can avoid exposing the treated area to extreme temperatures. A few things you can take care of are:
- You may be using ice packs to soothe the swelling. Remember not to use it for prolonged periods continuously. The extreme temperature of ice can damage the surface of the ear. You should take breaks in between so that the treated part can come to normal temperature.
- If you use a hairdryer or any other styling tool for your hair, you must avoid using it for a couple of weeks after ear surgery. It can expose your ears to excessive heat, and that can damage them.
- You must consider not going out in the sun for extended periods. You should also keep the scars away from tanning until they heal properly. Else, you will have to deal with hyperpigmentation.
Ear surgery may sound a bit scary to you at first. But when your ears affect your confidence or your day to day life, you must get them in place. There is no particular age to opt for ear surgery. So whenever you feel like they are bugging you, you can get them fixed. By keeping all the recovery points in mind, you will not face any issues post-surgery. Also, remember to go forward only with an experienced surgeon. They can guide you before, during, and after the procedure. Therefore, you will not have any trouble at any time.