Otoplasty (ear surgery)

Cosmetic ear surgery is performed through an incision in the back of the ear that allows the plastic surgeon to remove cartilage until the ear can be bent back toward the head.

The otoplasty is a surgical procedure that corrects the position of the ears when the significantly protrude on the sides of the head. When the ears are in this position, they may seem to be larger than they actually are. Macrotia (condition which causes the ears to be very large) may appear in one or both ears and also differ in its degree, which affects symmetry.

There are other types of malformations, that don’t necessarily affect hearing, which may be corrected through this surgery.


A good candidate will be a patient who has realistic goals for the surgery. It is very important that the patient is in good health, that is to say: the patient cannot have any condition that may compromise the healing process or risk his or her life. It is also advisable that the patient is non-smoker.

Cosmetic ear surgery is a highly individualized procedure, with the best results achieved through a thorough consultation with your cosmetic surgeon.

Children who are good candidates for ear surgery include those who are:

  1. Healthy, without a life-threatening illness or untreated chronic ear infections.
  2. Typically five years of age or older, when a child’s ear cartilage is stable enough for correction.
  3. Cooperative and follow instructions well.
  4. Able to communicate their feelings.

Teenagers and adults who are good candidates for ear surgery include:

  1. Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing.
  2. Non-smokers.
  3. Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for ear surgery.

Frequently asked questions?

How do I prepare for cosmetic ear surgery (otoplasty)?

Preparing for your cosmetic ear surgery procedure may include:

  1. Lab testing or a medical evaluation.
  2. Taking certain medications or adjusting your current medications.
  3. Stopping smoking well in advance of surgery.
  4. Avoiding Aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements due to increased risk of bleeding.


Once the consults with doctor have been done, and the doctor has deemed the surgery necessary, the patient will be ready to go into the operating room. Once in there, doctor will mark the areas that will be treated and take pictures to be able to assess the results of the surgery.

When this is done, the doctor will locally anesthetize and sedate the patient to begin with the surgery.

The surgical procedure used to correct macrotia need techniques that recreate or increase the antihelical fold and reduce the midden cartilage when it is protruding.

Non-removable internal stitches will be used to create and secure the correct position of the new shape of the cartilage. External stitches will close the incisions to carry on with the surgery. The surgical techniques used will vary in each case, trying not to distort the adjacent structures.

This procedure will provide results which are immediately visible as soon as the bandages are removed. The new shape of your ears will allow the incision marks to be hidden by the natural folds of your ears.

Frequently asked questions?

How long does the surgery take?

The surgery takes about 1-2 hours. It is an outpatient procedure performed in the office under local anesthesia in most cases.

There are many types of ear deformities including:

  1. Protruding ear.
  2. Stahl's ear deformity (Spock's ear, Vulcan ear, Satyr's ear, pointed ear).
  3. Macrotia (big ears).
  4. Constricted ear (cup ear, lop ear).
  5. Telephone ear (larger at the top and bottom, smaller in the middle).
  6. Earlobe deformities.


Cosmetic ear surgery is performed through an incision in the back of the ear that allows the plastic surgeon to remove cartilage until the ear can be bent back toward the head. Permanent stitches may be used to help keep the ear in place.

Another technique involves simply folding the cartilage onto itself to bring the ear closer to the head.

Cosmetic ear surgery is usually an outpatient procedure at cosmetic & plastic surgery center. General anesthesia is recommended for young children. For older children or adults, a local anesthesia with sedation may be used.

Frequently asked questions?

What results can I expect?

Cosmetic ear surgery can dramatically change your appearance. The results from ear surgery are immediate and usually long lasting. Follow-up with your surgeon is important to maintaining your results.


The risks associated to this surgery include infections, bleeding, hematomas, blood clots, irregular scarring and those related to using anesthesia.


Cosmetic ear surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. A dressing is placed over the ear for a week to help reduce the normal swelling that occurs in the ear for a few days following surgery, with pain being minimal and easily relieved with medication. Most adults return to work about five days following ear surgery. Children can return to school after about a week, but they must limit their activities until they are fully healed from surgery.


From the moment their bandages are removed, otoplasty (ear surgery) patients of all ages experience significant benefits after their surgery. Aside from the nose, the ears are the most prominent facial features we possess; deformities and injuries to the ears are difficult to hide, and the embarrassment of having abnormally shaped ears often leads to low self-esteem and confidence problems. Patients that have undergone ear pinning, reduction, or reshaping surgery benefit both physically and emotionally from the procedure.

Cosmetic ear surgery benefits

One of the most significant physical benefits of otoplasty is the variety of cosmetic problems it can correct. Another significant benefit of otoplasty is the safety of the procedure. Few cosmetic surgeries have as little risk and as much positive impact as cosmetic ear surgery.

Psychological benefits of otoplasty

Ear pinning and reshaping surgery provides both physical and psychological benefits for patients. Suddenly, the staring and teasing stops, and people are finally able to notice the person rather than focus on the ears. For most otoplasty patients, the burden of embarrassment is lifted when the bandages are removed. This allows them to feel transformed and free to live their lives more fully. And pediatric otoplasty patients are able to develop the confidence to engage in friendships and other normal social behaviors.

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