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Face and Jaw Surgery

The `WICK` effect

11/15/2005

Question:

It has been over 2 months since the otoplasty surgery took place to correct my ears. One of my ears is rebounding back to its "original" position. This has happened before and luckily the plastic surgeon was nice enough to re-do the surgery, but now its happening again! I used a mirror to closely look at the back of my ear and I see a suture sticking out of the scar with a knot on the end. My grandmother says this is called the "wick" effect and it is most likely the cause of ear to be rebounding back out to its original position. I must say though, after research on the internet I have read that cartiledge has a "memory" sort of, and will naturally go back to the original position, that seems more plausible. It seems like every day that I wake up the ear is popped out more and more, AND I WEAR A HEADBAND AT NIGHT TO SLEEP! When I wake up the ear is plastered to the side of my head because of the headband, but then by the end of the day it is "way out there" as time goes on it gets worse. Is the surgeon just not carving enough of the cartiledge away or is the piece of suture sticking out really effecting the healing process? I don`t know what to do really, he did me a favor by re-doing it but I don`t feel like I`m the one at fault but he made me feel that way the last time with no specific reasoning whatsoever. He was clueless as to the reasoning of it rebounding the last time and just placed the blame upon "something I must have done" and I fear that he is going to think I am not following his instructions and say that he is not going to fix it this time. My right ear just wont behave! I don`t know how to tell him or what to say! I know he isn`t very well experienced at otoplasty, when looking through his book of examples, he had a million before and after photos of breasts and stomachs and butts but only 2 patients of otoplasty. I feel I should of known better.

Answer:

It is extremely difficult for me to comment on this particular issue, since I have not had the opportunity to examine you to see what is going on. I also think it would be very unfair to your surgeon for me to comment under these circumstances. I would encourage you to talk to him again to see if there is anything else that could be done to correct this relapse.

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Response by:

Guillermo  E Chacon, DDS Guillermo E Chacon, DDS
Formerly:
Associate Professor of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University