What is Microtia Recovery Like?
Most children do not experience any significant amount of discomfort with any of the stages of microtia ear surgery. Stage 1 is the most invasive stage involving hospitalization after the surgery. The surgery is done under general anesthesia and the patient is numbed with short-term and long-term acting anesthetics for comfort. These anesthetics will relieve most of the chest discomfort from the rib graft site immediately following surgery and the next day. Children are usually up and playing the second day after surgery. Any other discomfort is usually managed quite easily with over-the-counter pain medications.
Many parents find using button-up or zippered clothing & pajamas helpful. This makes changing clothes easier and doesn't disturb the bandages or the upset your child. Other parents have also found it helpful to bring a favorite toy or books to the hospital to help children from becoming bored while hospitalized.
Complications from this surgery are rare and Dr. Jones' patients have a complication rate of less than 1%. Most patients are up and about the second day after surgery and feeling back to normal about a week after the operation. Children may be more comfortable sleeping upright or in a sitting position for the first few nights and they will need to avoid strenuous activity for the first few weeks. Children are restricted from sports for 4-5 weeks, teenagers and adults for 6 weeks. This is done more for the chest wound in Stage 1 surgery to allow proper healing time. Once healed jumping, running, swimming all may be resumed without restrictions. Generally, the only sports patients are discouraged from are boxing and wrestling as these have are often associated with ear trauma.
While reconstruction surgery for microtia of the ear is a long process and both the parents and child need to understand the process. Once completed the reconstructed ear will not hinder the child from any activity and will appear completely normal.
Many parents and children are concerned about suture removal. The child is often fearful of the process of removing the sutures, afraid that it will hurt terribly. Dr. Jones has taken out many sutures in his life and has developed a way of taking them out so it hurts the least amount possible. Afterwards, most children say that it did not really hurt, just felt funny. Here is one of Dr. Jones' patients experiencing the suture removal. She was brave.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mark Mitchell Jones of Atlanta Plastic Surgery Specialists.