Otoplasty is the surgery of ear that can be done to improve the shape, position or proportion of the ear.

April 23, 2022

Otoplasty is the surgery of ear that can be done to improve the shape, position or proportion of the ear.

Some facts about Otoplasty:

  • Otoplasty, also referred to as cosmetic ear surgery is performed on the visible portion of the outer ear, called the auricle.
  • Folds of cartilage that are covered in skin are there in the auricle which starts to develop before your birth and continues developing in the years after you are born.
  • Otoplasty can be done to correct the size, positioning, or shape of your ears i your auricle doesn't develop properly.
  • One or both ears can be affected by either an injury that affects the shape of the ears or when genetic features or health conditions affect cartilage growth.
  • The candidates for otoplasty should have good overall health as an underlying condition can increase the risk of complications or affect healing.
  • The candidates for otoplasty need to quit smoking if he/she is smoking before the surgery as smoking can decrease blood flow to the area, slowing the healing process.
  • Ear molding or splinting is a nonsurgical technique that can be effective if the child starts receiving treatment in the first 2–3 weeks of life.
  • Splinting may successfully correct the issues of ear if a child is born with prominent ears and certain other ear shape problems when started immediately after birth.
  • Splint are available in different types which are are made of soft, elastic, moldable material.
  • Otoplasty can be done at any age, usually after age 5 through adulthood after the ears have reached their full size.

Types of Otoplasty:

  • There are different types of otoplasty that can be done for ears that protrude from the head, are larger or smaller than normal or have an abnormal shape due to injury, trauma, or a structural issue from birth.
  • Ear augmentation will be done for people who may have small ears or ears that haven't completely developed  to increase the size of their outer ear.
  • Ear pinning will be done for people whose ears stick out prominently from the sides of their head to bring the ears closer to the head.
  • Ear reduction will be done for people with macrotia to reduce the size of their ears as the ears are larger than normal.


Preparation for Otoplasty:

  • You will need to have a consultation with your plastic surgeon before having your procedure, to have a medical history review, physical examination, discussion and questions.
  • All the information regarding medications you are taking, past surgeries and any current or previous medical conditions should be informed to your doctor before surgery.
  • The shape, size, and placement of your ears will be evaluated by your plastic surgeon. Measurements or pictures may also be taken by them as a reference.
  • The associated risks, and potential costs should be discussed with the surgeon. They will also want to know about your expectations for the procedure.
  • You should understand the risks of otoplasty, such as possible overcorrection.
  • Aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, which can increase bleeding should be avoided.

Procedure for Otoplasty:

  • Otoplasty is an outpatient procedure which can take between one to three hours, depending on the specifics and complexity of the procedure.
  • Local anesthesia with a sedative will be given during the procedure. General anesthesia may be used in some cases. Usually, general anesthesia is recommended for younger children undergoing otoplasty.
  • The surgical technique used will depend on the type of otoplasty you are having.
  • The location of the incisions and the resulting scars will be determined by the specific technique chosen by your plastic surgeon.
  • It can be done by making an incision, either on the back of your ear or inside the folds of your ear.
  • The tissue of the ear can be manipulated by removing the cartilage or skin, folding and shaping of cartilage with permanent stitches, or grafting of cartilage to the ear.
  • The incisions will be closed with stitches.

Recovery from Otoplasty:

  • Your ears will be covered in bandages for protection and support after otoplasty.
  • You need to keep your dressing clean and dry that is placed over your ears.
  • Touching or scratching at your ears should be avoided.
  • Pain medication can be taken as recommended by your doctor when you feel some discomfort and itching.
  • Avoid sleeping on your side to keep pressure off your ears. A sleeping position should be chosen where you are not resting on your ears.
  • Do not rub or place excessive force on the incisions.
  • Clothing should be worn that you don't have to pull over your head, such as button-up shirts.
  • Some types of stitches dissolve on their own and some need to be removed.
  • Ears that feel sore, tender, or itchy, redness, swelling, bruising, numbness or tingling are some of the common side effects during the recovery period.
  • You will need to wear an elastic headband for another 4 to 6 weeks after the removal of dressing.
  • A bad reaction to the anesthesia, bleeding, infection, scarring at or around the incision sites are some of the associated risk of otoplasty.
  • Changes in skin sensation can happen, which are typically temporary.
  • Suture extrusion may happen after the surgery, where the stitches securing the shape of your ears have to be removed and reapplied as it come to the surface of the skin.
  • An allergic reaction to the surgical tape or other materials used during or after the procedure can happen.
  • You might need additional surgery because of inflammation of the affected skin.
  • Unnatural contours may be created that make ears appear to be pinned back.