Otoplasty remains an overlapping clinical domain of plastic surgery and otolaryngology. The purpose of this study is to objectively analyze the safety of otoplasty and determine if there are any risk factors, such as surgical training, associated with increased patient morbidity.
Retrospective cohort study was conducted of otoplasty procedures performed in North America by plastic surgeons and otolaryngologists between 2012 and 2017 using the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Pediatric dataset. Statistical analysis was performed to analyze the relationships between comorbidities, congenital malformations, and postoperative complications.
There were 777 otoplasty procedures performed during the study period. Median age at time of surgery was 8.3 years (95% CI 7.9–8.7 years). Plastic surgeons performed 75.8% (n = 589) procedures and otolaryngologists performed 23.4% (n = 182). No significant (P = 0.952) difference in the occurrence of postoperative complications between surgical specialties was appreciated despite the fact that operative time was significantly longer in procedures performed by otolaryngologists (121 minutes versus 94 minutes, P < 0.001). Overall, 1.3% (n = 10 of 777) children experienced a complication, with the most common complication being superficial surgical site infection, occurring in 0.9% (n = 7 of 777) patients. There was no association of comorbidities (P all > 0.324) or congenital malformations (P all > 0.382) contributing to postoperative complications. Reoperation (0.8%, n = 6 of 777) and readmission (0.4%, n = 3 of 777) were uncommon; nevertheless, these adverse events were significantly associated with multiple inherent patient risk factors on multivariate regression.
Otoplasty is a relatively safe surgical procedure with similarly low complication and readmission rates when performed by plastic surgeons and otolaryngologists. Surgical site infection remains the most prevalent complication after otoplasty. Readmission and reoperation after otoplasty were significantly correlated to prematurity, structural pulmonary abnormality, alimentary tract disease, and seizure disorder.