What is an Otoplasty?

An otoplasty is a surgical procedure performed to improve the shape of your ears. The type of deformity of your ears may be minimal such as an inward curved lobule or a major deformity in the shape of cup ears.

An otoplasty can be performed for one or more of the following reasons:

  • to alleviate the deformity in your ears
  • to create symmetry between your ears
  • to decrease the size of your ears
  • to re-shape the deformity in children’s ears to decrease the amount of teasing they are exposed to.

Could I benefit from an otoplasty?

You may be an appropriate candidate for an otoplasty for one of the following reasons:

  • you are bothered by the shape of your ears
  • you are the parent of a child who is constantly being picked on and called nicknames because of the shape of his/her ears.
  • you have problems when wearing eyeglasses or sunglasses due to the position of your ears

What is the most appropriate age for an otoplasty?

After birth the ear cartilages reach their normal age around the age of 5-6 years old. As this  coincides with the age at which primary school starts it is a good age for surgery. There is no upper limit regarding age for otoplasty.

How is otoplasty surgery done?

Otoplasty surgery in children is typically performed under general anesthesia. In adults it may be performed either under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with or without sedation. There is no need to shave any hair during this procedure. After anesthesia and sterilization of the area around your ears an incision is placed on the back side of your ear. The surgeon places sutures in the ear to achieve the desired shape. The surgeon may also take out or rearrange cartilage, soft tissue, or skin  of the ear. Then the surgeon will place sutures to close the incision site. After one ear is finished, measurements will be made and the other ear will be operated on with these measurements as guidelines.

What can I expect after surgery?

You should be prepared for moderate swelling and bruising of the ears after removal of bandage. The degree of swelling differs markedly from patient to patient. The most of the swelling and bruising subside within 7-10 days, after which time it is typically hardly notable that you just underwent surgery.

Will I have a bandage after surgery?

A bandage is wrapped around your head after the operation to apply pressure over the ears and to minimize the risk of blood collection under the skin (hematoma). Removal of the dressing a day after the surgery is typically pain-free. Your surgeon will advise you to wear a headband regularly for a week, and then only during night for 2-3 months.

Will there be pain after the surgery?

Pain after surgery is typically very mild and well controlled with pain medications. The patient may need to take pain medication for one to five days.

What are possible risks and complications of otoplasty?

Blood may collect under the skin and may require removal. This so called hematoma may be evacuated with a syringe, or it may require a short surgical procedure for removal.

A loss of sensation on the back of the ear may occur but is most often transient and will heal in 2-6 months.

Asymmetry of the ears after surgery may also occur. A mild degree of asymmetry is present in most people and should not be regarded as a problem or complication. Pronounced and persistent asymmetry may necessitate additional treatment or a second operation.

Is it possible that I will need revision surgery?

The result of an otoplasty may be expected to last forever. Only when the desired position of the ears is not achieved or when there is pronounced asymmetry, a second procedure may be advised.

How long will I be off work/ how long will my child be away from school?

Generally speaking the recovery period after otoplasty is short and you may start doing your daily routines one to three days after surgery