Otoplasty in Nigeria is not common to most people, except those with malformation or abnormally shaped or sized ears. This practice involves the surgical reshaping or resizing of the outer portion of the ear, to make it bigger, smaller, or closer to the head. Otoplasty is considered a cosmetic surgery because it aims at improving the outlook of individuals who need it by manipulating the outer part of their auditory organ.
In Nigeria, many of the top hospitals, such as the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) offer otoplasty services to the public, helping people with abnormal auricles, have a better physical appearance and sometimes, improve their hearing abilities. Also, many researches, such as this, check into the prevalence of congenital external ear abnormalities in Nigeria.
In this article, we will be looking at a brief anatomy of the ear, to help us understand how the external ear can be deformed and affect the hearing ability of the affected people. It will also help us understand how otoplasty procedures can manipulate the tissues of the external ear. We will also look at the practice of otoplasty in Nigeria, the individuals who should consider otoplasty, some hospitals that perform this cosmetic surgery, and the cost of getting otoplasty done in Nigeria.
The Ear – Brief Overview
The ear is mostly referring to the outer, visible part of the organ that enables hearing of sounds in mammals although it also includes the middle and inner part to achieve this function and help with balance.
The outer ear consists of the auricle (sometimes called the pinna), the ear canal, and the outer part of the eardrum. However, our focus will be on the pinna – that part of your ear that can be pulled with your fingers. The pinna is the large part of the outer ear, comprising the curvature, called helix and antihelix, that directs sound from the outside environment to the ear canal.
The pinna is made of smooth cartilage and covered by thin flesh. This part of the ear in some people may be too big, malformed as a result of accidents or from birth, and needs to be surgically manipulated for better appearance, hence Otoplasty.
Who Needs Otoplasty?
Otoplasty is needed by people who need their outer ears to be made smaller, bigger, or reformed. They usually have one or more of the following issues with their pinna.
A condition where a child is born without external ear, that is the pinna, and a narrow or absent ear canal. It may occur in only one ear, or both ears. This can cause partial deafness or total deafness in one or both ears, depending on how closed off the ear canal is and if only one or both ears are affected.
Microtia, unlike anotia is a condition where the pinna is present but underdeveloped. It can also be unilateral or bilateral, as in anotia, that is, it can occur in one or both ears. It can cause a reduced hearing ability due to ineffective sound conduction into the ear canal.
Big ear lobes
Ear lobes, that is pinna, can be overdeveloped for the head, making the appearance abnormal. In these cases, the size of the cartilage that makes up the pinna is reduced through otoplasty to make the ear appear normal in relation to the head and face.
Disfigured ear keloids
Some parts of the pinna can look abnormal. Sometimes, it looks as if it is chopped off, other times, keloids – scar tissues that form as a result of injury to the ear – may form on the ear. These can be removed and corrected through ear reconstruction surgery.
Different forms of outer ear deformity such as mottled ear lobes, as a result of accidents such as burns can be addressed using otoplasty.
Otoplasty, also called ear reconstruction surgery, like every other surgery does not happen just because the patient says he or she wants it, there are procedures to follow before the actual surgery as there are risks attached to it.
Before the commencement, an individual should search for a qualified and certified surgeon or hospital that provides the otoplasty surgery option. Such hospitals in Nigeria include Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), UCH-Ibadan, Federal government-owned hospitals across the country, and some private hospitals such as Eagle Hospital in Victoria Island, Lagos.
During this stage, the patient meets the surgeon of their preferred hospital and they discuss issues, such as the patient’s medical history and his or her expectations from the surgery. The doctor will inform the patient on the complications that may arise from the surgery and the risks attached to it.
You may have to pay for consultation fee before this happens in some hospitals, especially private hospitals. Some hospitals add it to your total cosmetic surgery cost.
The patient will be given anesthetics, usually based on their age. patients that are below five years old are given general anesthetics while older patients are given localized anesthetics. The surgical procedure usually lasts between 1 to 3 hours, depending on how complicated it goes.
The cartilage of the pinna may need to be removed and rounded into the right shape. It may also need to be constructed from scratch, which will obviously cost more time. Cartilage is usually gotten from the rib of the patient. Afterward, the new structure is stitched together.
You will expect to go through a recovery stage where you may experience some itching or irritation on your ears. Avoid scratching your ears and wear button-up shirts in place of polos and t-shirts, to avoid contact with your ears.
Also, sleep in positions that protects your ears, like on your back, at least till your ears get better. You may have to return to the hospital to have your stitches removed. However, most stitches will dissolve on their own.
There is the risk of infection and inflammation after surgery, ensure that you keep as clean as possible.
Cost of Otoplasty in Nigeria
The cost of getting an ear reconstruction surgery in Nigeria varies from hospital to hospital, especially between private and public hospitals. The surgery may cost about 500,000 naira but the consultation fee might be about 10 percent of the actual fee. This price is for some government hospitals.
However, in private hospitals, the prices range from 800,000 to 1.2 million naira, excluding consultation fees.
Otoplasty, also called ear reconstruction surgery, is a cosmetic surgery that helps to restore normalcy to the outer part of the ear, called Pinna. It is a surgery that is done in many Nigerian hospitals and will help people with abnormal ear lobe formation as a result of accident or from birth ave a better physical appearance.
It is quite costly to get this surgery done in Nigeria.
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