There are many common misconceptions about plastic surgery. For example, if you were to ask most people about facial plastic surgery procedures, the first thing that would come to mind would be the traditional full facelift, which helps alleviate signs of aging across the entire face. However, as plastic surgery procedures become more refined and more specialized, techniques to address highly specific areas of concern are becoming much more popular. In fact, according to statics compiled annually by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the number of cosmetic plastic surgery procedures performed on the nose or ears outnumbered facelifts in patients under forty by more than seventy to one. Nose surgery (rhinoplasty) and ear surgery (otoplasty) are consistently among the most popular facial plastic surgery procedures, and the two actually share some important similarities.
Similar Approach: Shaping Cartilage
Both the ears and the nose are predominantly composed of cartilage, a supportive and connective tissue that is flexible, yet highly durable and resistant to compression forces. Cartilage will naturally warp and bend when it is scored with a sharp implement, so it can be molded and sculpted as needed. This is particularly useful during cosmetic ear surgery, which may require only a single additional fold in the cartilage to reduce the projection of the ear and give it a more natural-looking appearance. If additional cartilage is required, to rebuild damaged areas for example, it can be safely transplanted from elsewhere in the patient’s own body. This is highly preferable to the use of artificial implants, since natural cartilage has a significantly reduced risk of infection, bone erosion, or rejection and will blend more seamlessly with the patient’s own tissue, achieving much more natural looking results.
Similar Goals: Combining Form and Function
The most obvious similarity between the nose and the ear, however, is that they both perform more than just cosmetic functions. Many men and women choose to undergo rhinoplasty or otoplasty because they want to make subtle changes in the size or shape of their features that will give them a more balanced and proportional appearance. However, a significant number might also need such procedures to repair damage or a structural defect that impairs the organs’ function. Even a relatively minor imperfection in the shape of the nose, like a slightly deviated septum, can impair the flow of air enough to cause sinus problems or sleep difficulties, and reconstructive rhinoplasty may be the best way to restore proper function. Similarly, repeated trauma and bruising to the outer ear, like that suffered by boxers or wrestlers, can result in abnormal growth, called cauliflower ear, and possible hearing loss. Even when these surgeries are performed for cosmetic reasons alone, surgeons need to take special care in order to ensure that the nose or ears can still serve their natural functions.
Both nose surgery and ear surgery, whether it is performed for cosmetic or reconstructive reasons, are extremely intricate procedures requiring a high degree of surgical skill. This is why we recommend that they be performed by highly experienced, board-certified plastic surgeons, like those at Atlanta Plastic Surgery. If you have any questions about what plastic surgery might be able to do for you, please contact Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. so that we can schedule an appointment for a consultation. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest plastic surgery news.