Otoplasty (Ear Correction Surgery) - Cosmetic Surgery Guide

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Otoplasty, or cosmetic ear surgery, is one of the most common cosmetic surgeries worldwide. Otoplasty deals with protruding or malformed ears which can be very embarrassing for children and adults alike. Although most patients who have Otoplasty are children, many adults also undergo the treatment. Otoplasty can take several forms including; pinning the ears, reducing the size of large ears or adjusting bends which occur in the cartilage. Otoplasty can help to deal with excessively large earlobes, ears that stick out or ears that aren't symmetrical. As children's ears are usually fully developed by the age of four there's no increased risks due to the age of the patient. Also cartilage in young children is much more pliable than that in adult ears, so Otoplasty can often have better results when performed at a younger age.

The Procedure

During the otoplasty procedure, the skin and cartilage located behind the ears will be removed. They will then be adjusted to bend back towards the head and stitches will be put in place to help keep the new shape in place. Incisions are usually made in the creases behind the ear, to minimise the appearance of scars. Other techniques include leaving cartilage intact but making use of stitches to fold it back on itself resulting in a new shape for the ear. The surgery generally lasts a couple of hours and whether local or general anesthetic will be used depends upon which problem needs to be treated.


Immediately following surgery most patients are on their feet within two hours, however an overnight stay in hospital is optional, depending on how you feel. You will require a full head bandage for about two weeks afterwards, in order to support your ears in their new position. It's usual to experience throbbing and slight pain in your ears for a few days after surgery. And over-the-counter pain medication is usually enough to deal with this. Most patients can return to work, or school, within a week although it's recommended you take precautions to protect the vulnerable area.

The risks

Although the majority of Otoplasty procedures are performed without complications, any surgery comes with risks. Infections can develop in the cartilage area and so it's usual to be prescribed antibiotics to protect against this. Fluid can build up in the areas where surgery has been performed leading to haematomas or blood clots. Although most scars are hidden in creases and barely noticeable, there is a rare risk of permanent enlarged scarring developing. Fortunately, these are treatable with creams and steroid injections. If complications arise with the initial surgery then additional treatments may be required to correct this. The best candidates for Otoplasty are in good health and you will consult with your surgeon regarding your medical history and any current medications. Before you undergo surgery it's also recommended you maintain a healthy diet and avoid smoking, as this can constrict blood vessels. Similarly certain anti-inflammatory and other medications will have to be stopped before having Otoplasty.