Holger G. Gassner, M.D., Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon (USA)


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OTOPLASTY

Correction of protruding ears is a frequently performed surgical procedure and generally performed under general anesthesia beginning around age 16.  In adults, however, this procedure may be performed under local anesthesia.

A variety of surgical techniques have been described to correct protruding ears. These must be carefully selected on an individual basis.  Professor Gassner prefers an integrated concept based on exact and detailed anatomic analysis of the required changes.  Your ear may be divided into three horizontal thirds.  The upper third from the top edge of the ear to the roof of the external ear canal, the central third and the lobule.  Deformities of the upper third of the ear are typically caused by the shape of the underlying cartilage (the antihelix).  Changes in the shape of the central third are frequently caused by increased soft tissue bulk between the bone of the skull as well as the shape of the central cartilage of your ear (the concha).  Changes in the shape of the lobule are usually caused by the soft tissue attachments of the lobule to the cartilaginous skeleton of the ear.  According to the extent of your individual deformity, Professor Gassner selects the appropriate technique.

The techniques available to change the shape of your ear include: The cartilage may be sutured, scored, drilled, incised or parts of it excised. Sutures may be utilized to reshape parts of the cartilage and the sift tissues. Professor Gassner has developed a concept to minimize soft tissue and cartilage injury during otoplasty. He published the “Safety Concept in Otoplasty”, which is based on the selection of cartilage sparing techniques and suturing methods. Cuts into or through the cartilage or even removal of cartilage is entirely avoided. By carefully combining conservative techniques, all cartilage is spared and the risk of complications like contour irregularities and sharp edges is minimized. The results of this concept were studied by visiting clinician Dr. Nunes on 100 consecutive patients and published. Please feel free to contact us to request a reprint of this or other articles published by Professor Gassner.

For the standard technique, the incision is placed by the fold behind the ear and is well hidden to the eye. In some cases, the incisionless technique may be employed. This may be advantageous especially in isolated deformities of the upper third of the ear.

Professor Gassner places particular emphasize on safe and soft surgery. He avoids techniques that are more prone to problems and complications, such as transections and excisions of the cartilage. He combines multiple soft methods to achieve the desored change of all aspects of the external ear. This concept of “distributing the load” among multiple surgical techniques has been pioneered and published by Professor Gassner. Among the principles of this concept is the use of reversible techniques, i.e. methods that can in principle be undone without tissue deestruction. The soft surgery approach usually results in a short recovery period: The dressing is removed on the first or second day after surgery, a headband is worn for the first 7 to 10 days. Flight attendandts may resume work while wearing a fashionable headband as early as day 3 after surgery. The ears typically look inconspicuous to the public after 7 to 10 days.

FAQs after otoplasty surgery include: When can I fly after otoplasty? When may I wear glasses after otoplasty? How long do I need to pause sports and exercise after otoplasty? When may I swim after otoplasty? Do I need to get sutures removed after otoplasty?

Professor Gassner employs soft surgical techniques with the goal to minimize tissue injury and downtime. International patients and flight attendants may usually fly as early as the day following surgery. A headband is typically worn for 7 to 10 days. Sports and exercise may be resumed after one to two weeks, glasses may be worn about 10 days after otoplasty surgery. No sutures need to be removed after otoplasty surgery, since these are resorbable.

Professor Gassner is an internationally recognized expert in otoplasty surgery. He accepts challenging congenital and revisional cases, including cup ear, Stahl ear and microtia cases. He receives international patient referrals for corrective otoplasty after unsuccessful surgery.  Professor Gassner performs revisions for contour irregularities, edges, malpositions, tissue loss and scarring. Professor Gassner lectures on his techniques and concepts during international meetings.

The costs for otoplasty surgery are based on the corrections to be made, the techniques used and the type of anesthesia.  For patients aged 16 or over, the procedure can be performed  under local anesthesia. Younger patients or those who are particular anxious are frequently performed under general anaesthesia.  For more information, please contact us directly.

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