The protruding ear affects about 5% of the population and is a common congenital disorder. For otoplasty protruding ear correction, the procedure cosmetic surgery is most often performed in children. Complications with this procedure are rare, but can occur. Most of these can be minimized with appropriate patient selection, correct preoperative planning and analysis, meticulous surgical technique, and appropriate postoperative care. The main complications that can be observed are:
BLEEDING AND HEMATOMA
The ear has abundant vascularity, with branches irrigated directly from the external carotid artery. While this intense blood circulation allows dissection of several regions of the ear in the same procedure, it can contribute to the formation of bleeding or hematoma in the postoperative period.
The incidence of hematoma is 2%. If it occurs, treatment corresponds to the drainage and revision of hemostasis.
Postoperative infection in otoplasty is extremely rare, as it is a clean surgery – about 2.4% of cases. When present, symptoms appear 5 days after surgery, and the most common clinical signs are pain, redness, local heat, and drainage of purulent secretion may occur.
The infection is treated with antibiotics.
KELOID AND HYPERTROPHIC SCAR
Excessive proliferation of normal scar tissue can cause changes in otoplasty scar. The hypertrophic scar is high, reddish, but respects the margins of the surgical incision and tends to regress over time. The keloid also manifests as a raised, reddish scar, but in this case it is not limited to the size of the incision, it grows more than it does. The keloid does not regress over time and tends to cause symptoms such as pain, itching, and altered sensitivity.
Treatment of keloids and hypertrophic scars is carried out by infiltrating corticosteroids, and in some cases scar removal is required.
COMPLICATIONS OF SUTURE MATERIAL
There are over 170 techniques for correcting protruding ears, most of which use sutures to mold the ear cartilage. These materials can become visible over time and can be excreted by the body.
Whatever technique is used, otoplasty offers the ear a chance to partially or completely return to its original position. Cartilage tends to be a “memory”, that is, return to its original position. Thus, this force applied by the cartilage can loosen the sutures and cause the ear position to partially return.
Complications in otoplasty are rare, but they should be treated promptly when they are present. Prevention of these events is accomplished by appropriate patient selection and meticulous surgical technique. Therefore, the procedure should be done by a specialist.