Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)

There are many people who are not happy with the shape and size of their ears. There are others who have protruding ears, or are drooping too low or asymmetrical. In some cases, children are teased at school; while adults go lengths of hiding their ears by either wearing hats or with hair. If this is also the case with you then Otoplasty, perhaps, is the right answer to your problem. The surgical procedure cosmetically alters the shape and size of ears. The surgery should be performed by an experienced cosmetic surgeon. The results of the procedure can have dramatic impact on the confidence, appearance, and overall quality of life.


This can be performed as both corrective and aesthetic procedure. In most cases, adults prefer undergoing this surgery for altering the size, proportion, or position of the ears. The result of the surgery varies and depends on the changes being desired, however such procedures boost self-confidence, specifically among teenagers and children. If one is higher than the other, ear repositioning can create symmetry. If ears stick out, ear pinning is done for flattening the ears against the head. Oversized or large ears can be addressed alone or in conjunction with other ear problems.

Who is the right candidate for ear surgery?

Here are a few reasons why you might prefer undergoing ear surgery:

  • • In case your ears have reached their full size that might happen at the age of six. In most cases, children are the most common patients to undergo this procedure.
  • • A set-back ear surgery, that is a procedure for reducing the prominence of ears that stick out too much, can be done on adults children as well as adults.

In a nutshell, if you have overall good health, positive attitude towards the procedure, and realistic expectations then you are the right candidate for this surgery.

Detailed information regarding the procedure

When performed in children, the cartilage is soft enough that splints can be used to contour during the procedure. Usually, this surgery is performed under general anaesthesia. On the other hand, adults have harder cartilage. Thus, the procedure has to be performed by repositioning or removing cartilage after making a small incision in the ear.

On the basis of the changes you want and anatomy, the plastic surgeon may make an incision behind or inside the ear. Soft tissues or extra cartilage that makes the ear stick out can also be removed. In case normal folds are missing from the ear, they are created again by re-shaping the cartilage either with permanent sutures or scraping the cartilage for contouring it. In some cases, a combination of techniques is used for getting the desired outcome.

How the incisions and scars of the surgery be like?

When it comes to the location of your incisions, it largely depends on the type of changes you want to have. However, the plastic surgeon makes the incision in the inconspicuous areas, either within the inner folds of the ear, or in the back of the ear where it connects the head.

Preparing for Otoplasty

Before undergoing any surgery, it is important to prepare for it. And, ear surgery is not different.

The plastic surgeon would provide you with thorough preoperative instructions, perform a physical exam, answer all your concerns and queries, and take a detailed medical history. All this would help him determine if you are fit for the procedure. If the surgeon asks you to undergo pre-surgery testing, make sure you schedule in well in advance.

Before the surgery, the plastic surgeon would ask you to:

  • • Avoid in take of some type of herbal medication, aspiring and anti-inflammatory drugs that might increase bleeding.
  • • Apply good quality sunscreen. Make sure rinse the skin on and around ears with warm water before using sunscreen.
  • • Stop smoking at least five to six weeks before the procedure for better healing.
  • • Irrespective of the type of surgery to be performed, hydration is essential before and after the procedure for safe and timely recovery.

Make sure to eat healthy, exercise frequently and minimize stress. These are important and help you prepare for the procedure. Also, plan for the recovery period well in advance. This includes time you will be taking off from work and ensuring that you have everything you need easily accessible and handy at the time of recovery.

What to expect on the day of the otoplasty?

On the day of the ear surgery, you will be advised not take anything by mouth that also includes food. You have to drink minimal amount of water required for taking medicine, if any, or for brushing teeth and rinsing mouth. Anything more that might lead to cancellation of the procedure. The entire surgical procedure might be performed in accredited hospital, office based surgical suite or free-standing ambulatory.

  • • Medications are administered or given for the comfort of the patient during the surgery.
  • • The surgery is performed under general anaesthesia even though intravenous sedation or local anaesthesia might also be administered in some circumstances.
  • • For the safety of the patient during the surgery, several monitors are used for checking blood pressure, the amount of oxygen circulating in the blood, and to check the heartbeat.
  • • The surgery will be followed as per the surgical plan discussed with you before the procedure.
  • • After the surgery is performed, you would be taken into a recovery room or area where you will be monitored closely.

In most cases, patients are discharged from the hospital after a short observation unless and the cosmetic surgeon have other plan for immediate post-surgery recovery.

Aftercare and Recovery

The plastic surgeon would discuss how long it will take for recovery, when can you join work and start doing normal activities. After the procedure, you along with the caregiver would be given detailed instructions about the post-surgery care that might also include the information related to:

  • • Any potential signs of complications
  • • Drains, in case they are placed
  • • Normal symptoms that you will experience

Make sure that you adhere to the instructions given by the cosmetic surgeon for timely and quick recovery. Also, it is vital to understand that the amount of time it takes for the recovery varies from patient to patient.

What will immediately after the procedure?

After the procedure is done, you will have dressing wrapped around the ars. Shortly after the surgery, the plastic surgeon would remove the heavier bandage to inspect the areas, and would replace it with a lighter dressing. It is important to keep this dressing in place as instructed by the doctor. In addition, the surgeon might also prescribe medicines to be taken during the recovery period.

In most cases, patient is released from the hospital the same day as the procedure is performed. However, make sure you have someone to accompany you to and from the surgery.

How long it will take to recover from the ear surgery?

Make sure you have a responsible adult with you for at least two to three days after the surgery is done. For the first week of the recuperation, it is important to take rest frequently though you should still move around occasionally to keep blood flowing. You can minimize discomfort by reclining however make sure you keep head elevated. Do not rest your head on ear on which surgery is done as it might lead to throbbing and can cause discomfort.

The surgeon would inform you when the dressing has to be removed. In addition, you might also be asked to apply antibiotic ointment to the ears or perform any other wound care treatment at home.

Approximately a week after the procedure, you will be asked to visit the surgeon. Stitches might be removed at this time even though absorbable stitches are used that do not require removal.

Though recovery varies from patient to patient, you can return to light activities and work a week after the procedure. The final results would be visible in two weeks though small changes to ears might happen for up to a year.

How long the results of the surgery last?

Results of otoplasty are life-long, barring any kind of incident that might impact the proportions and shape of the ears. Consult the surgeon as prescribed after the surgery as it will help in better recovery. Visit the surgeon if you notice some major changes that might be a cause of concern.

Cost of the surgery

When it comes to the cost of the otoplasty, it is important to know that it varies from surgeon to surgeon. Make sure you choose a board-certified, experienced and trained plastic surgeon for the procedure. In addition, there are several other factors that contribute of the overall cost of the procedure. Some of these factors include fee of the anaesthesiologist, staff and facility where the surgery will be performed, after surgery medications, tests conducted before the procedure and type of surgery done. Make sure you discuss everything related to the cost prior the surgery so that you can prepare accordingly for the procedure.

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