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Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)
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A cosmetic surgical procedure designed to reduce the size of large ears or allow protruding ears to lie closer to the head.

Length of Surgery

2 – 5 hours




Usually local, sometimes general, depending on the age of the patient

Back to work in...

7 – 10 days

Back to the gym in...

2 – 4 weeks

Treatment Frequency



Hematoma; infection in the cartilage area; changes in sensation; unfavourable scarring; poor healing; blood clot on the ear or elsewhere; allergic reactions to the anesthesia; damage to underlying structures; need for revisional surgery; sutures may be visible or may break allowing for partial or complete recurrence of the protrusion and / or loss of the ear fold causing irregularities, sharp folds and other shape abnormalities.

Duration of Results


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Click links below for detail.

Otoplasty Surgery Costs*

Cosmetic ear surgery prices vary widely depending on the length and complexity of the otoplasty operation. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons quoted the national average for Otoplasty surgery at approximately $2,791, though this price does not normally include pre- and post-operative care and medication.

Exactly how much your otoplasty surgery will cost will depend on several factors, including:

  1. The surgeon’s experience
  2. Location of the procedure
  3. Extent of the surgery
  4. Pre- and post-operative care
Otoplasty, like any other cosmetic surgery, is an individual procedure, therefore otoplasty costs will vary from patient to patient.

Most cosmetic surgeons and surgical clinics offer flexible otoplasty finance and payment options, some of which allow staggered payments or loans from VARIOUS FINANCING COMPANIES.

If you are considering having ear surgery but want to explore more about the otoplasty financing options available before you make your decision, PLEASE CLICK HERE. You can discuss your financial options with your surgeon, and find out if there are any loans of flexi-payment plans that will allow you to achieve the breasts you have always desired.

To find out more about financing options available PLEASE CLICK HERE.

When you enquire about otoplasty costs, be sure you get the whole breakdown of fees and the total cost. Costs in the United States are the same from coast to coast and across the Midwest. The only exception is the New York area, where you can expect to pay about 50% more.


Am I a candidate for an Otoplasty procedure?

Patients who are unhappy with any of the following may be good candidates for corrective ear surgery:

  1. Protruding ear/s
  2. Large ear/s
  3. Abnormally shaped ear/s
Otoplasty may be suitable for you as long as you:
  1. Are in good health physically and emotionally
  2. Have realistic expectations about what ear surgery can and cannot achieve for you
As long as you are in good health, there is no upper age limit for Otoplasty surgery.

However, there are some reasons why some people are not good candidates for Otoplasty, even if they fulfill some of the criteria above. There are some medical conditions which increase the risk of complications from ear surgery. Those at risk include people with:
  1. High blood pressure (hypertension)
  2. Thyroid problems
  3. Diabetes
Your otoplasty surgeon will also need to know of any allergies, medications you are taking (prescription and over the counter) and if you smoke. Make sure you tell him or her about any medical condition you have so that you and your ear surgeon can make the best choice prior to an ear surgery operation. If you are considering ear surgery but are being treated for or are concerned that you may be suffering from any of the conditions above, discuss your concerns with your own doctor beforehand.


What is an Otoplasty procedure? 

Otoplasty (also known as cosmetic ear surgery, pinnaplasty or ear correction), is a procedure designed to reduce the size of large ears or allow them to lie closer to the head. Having overly protruding ears can be a source of teasing for children and self-consciousness for adults. Otoplasty involves adjusting the shape of the cartilage of the ear in patients whose ears protrude from the side of the head, which allows folds to be created which make the ear lie close to the side of the head. Otoplasty surgery can involve a combination of moving, reshaping, adding, or removing elements of the ear’s structure.

Many people seek cosmetic ear surgery because they are unhappy with the shape and position of their ears.

During the initial consultation with the Otoplasty surgeon, a thorough medical history will be taken. The doctor will ask you if you have any history of developmental disorders, hearing problems, or problems which may interfere with the performance of a safe outpatient operation, such as a history of heart disease, smoking, diabetes, bleeding tendencies, or other medical problems.

The ears will be examined and compared to each other and to "normal" guidelines, and then they will be measured. Your Otoplasty surgeon may recommend one of many surgical techniques to improve the appearance of your ear/s. The particular technique that your cosmetic surgeon recommends will depend on the nature of the problem and your aesthetic goals and objectives. As every patient is different, not everyone will achieve the same results from ear surgery. Your ear surgeon will select the surgical technique that he or she feels will obtain the best outcome for you.

If you have protruding ears, the cartilage (the supporting tissue of the ears), is reshaped to the desired contour, using stitches placed in the rear of the ear, and positioning the ears closer to the head. Incisions are normally made behind the ears, concealed in the natural skin crease. This minimizes and hides the scarring. Other possible incisions depend on what needs to be done.

Techniques vary among Otoplasty surgeons and patients. Factors that may influence the choice of technique include the general anatomy of the ears, the extent of the ear cartilage, excessive skin in the surrounding area, or level of deformity in other areas of the ears.

If your ears need to be reduced in size (ear reduction otoplasty) or are protruding from a portion of the ear, the Otoplasty surgeon will make an external incision of the outside surface of the ear, and skin as well as cartilage will often need to be removed. Incisions are typically hidden near folds in the front of the ear where they will heal fairly inconspicuously. The incision(s) are closed with either dissolvable sutures or ones that will be removed by a doctor after the wounds have healed. The ear is covered with a bulky ear dressing that protects the ear after Otoplasty surgery.

General anesthesia is normally recommended for young patients and local anesthesia alone or combined with a mild sedative is administered to older children and adults. General anesthesia may necessitate an overnight hospital stay. Ear surgery patients who have been sedated and given local anesthetic will usually return home within hours of the procedure on the same day. The Otoplasty procedure takes at least two hours. Usually the recovery is rapid and relatively painless.

Your Otoplasty surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for ear surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. Listening to this advice and following these instructions will help your surgery to go more smoothly and will help to reduce the risk of possible ear surgery side effects and complications.

Otoplasty Surgery Procedure Steps

Step 1 - Anesthesia

  1. Your otoplasty surgeon will draw marks on the skin of your ear prior to the operation to mark the incision site/s. If you are nervous about the Otoplasty operation, you may be given a tranquilizer such as valium to calm you down. An intravenous line will be placed in your arm or hand, and the sedation is administered through this line. (In patients less than 14 years old, a general anesthetic is administered by an anesthesiologist).
  2. For your safety during the operation, various monitors are used to check your heart, blood pressure, pulse and the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood.
Step 2 - The incisions and re-shaping/removal of cartilage and/or skin

There are two common Otoplasty techniques:
  1. The surgeon finds the most inconspicuous site on the back of the ear to make the incision. Once the incision is made, the otoplasty surgeon sculpts the exposed ear cartilage and re-positions it closer to the head. The surgeon may use permanent sutures to help the cartilage to stay in position. If necessary for the patient, the ear surgeon will remove excessive cartilage to improve the final appearance of the ear.
  2. In the second technique, skin is removed, a small file is passed to the front of the ear to gently score the cartilage and the ear cartilage is folded back. After making markings in the cartilage, stitches are placed through the back of the ear cartilage without going all the way through the front of the ear. After a series of these permanent sutures are placed, they are tied down, creating a folding of the ear to create a normal, more aesthetically pleasing contour. There is no cartilage removed in this technique. At this point, the bowl (concha) of the ear can be tilted back if necessary, and any adjustments to the earlobe are made. The skin is then closed with an absorbable suture which will dissolve within seven days, or with removable sutures which will be removed in five to seven days.
Step 3 - The results
  1. When surgery is completed, you will be taken into the recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. Tell your nurse or otoplasty surgeon if the dressings feel too tight. You should only feel a little discomfort from the ear surgery, especially if the ears are in a head dressing.
  2. Your ears will be swollen, bruised and numb for two or three days after your ear surgery. Healing takes at least six weeks to be complete, and longer for all of the fine details of the ears to return to their normal appearance.
  3. You will normally be allowed home after a short period of observation, although some patients may stay overnight in the hospital or surgical facility.


Otoplasty Surgery Recovery and Healing Steps

Otoplasty recovery times will vary patient by patient and by the extent of the ear surgery performed. Healing time after ear surgery depends on a patient's physical and emotional health and their response to surgery. Patients with a history of medical problems such as scarring or circulation problems, and patients who smoke may experience a longer healing time after otoplasty. The rate of recovery also depends on the quality of a patient's after care, and whether or not any complications are experienced.

It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals. Remember, you must not take aspirin or certain anti-inflammatory medications.

After the procedure, your head is wrapped in a thick bandage, which helps to maintain the new position of the ears protects them and aids the healing process. You will need to return to the Otoplasty surgeon's office within the first few days to have the bandage changed for a lighter one. Your surgeon will provide you with a complete post-operative instruction list which you should follow carefully to reduce the risk of complications.

Most adult patients return to normal activity within three days of otoplasty surgery. More complicated procedures may require a longer recovery time. Children can return to normal activities in seven days, but must be watched in playful activities for at least three weeks to avoid damage to the healing ears. For both adults and children, ears should not be bent for at least a month or more.

For the first several days you should maintain head elevation as much as possible. Sleep propped up on pillows to help to reduce the swelling caused by your ear surgery. Mild swelling may persist for many weeks in some patients. Bruising typically disappears within seven to ten days and stitches are usually removed within a week of otoplasty surgery.

You should only experience mild to moderate pain following your ear surgery, which is usually controlled pain medication prescribed by your ear doctor. You may also be prescribed an antibiotic to prevent or treat any infection. You will need to keep the dressing clean and dry, but you will be able to shower after the dressings are removed three or four days after the otoplasty procedure. Your ears will be swollen, bruised and numb, and may look a little irregular from the pressure of the dressings. Don’t worry about this – it is very uncommon for ears to be perfectly asymmetrical.

After surgery, you may be instructed to wear gauze dressing or bandage for a few days or up to several weeks to ensure that your ears heal in their new, corrected position. A wide elastic hair band is worn at night to cover the ears and prevent them from bending during sleep.

Avoid straining, bending and lifting in the days after your otoplasty procedure. You should be able to resume most of your normal activities within ten days or less and return to work in seven to 10 days.

Important things to remember for a faster otoplasty recovery:

  1. Keep your head propped up on pillows when you are lying down to reduce swelling and bruising
  2. Avoid bending forward for a few days
  3. Wear a protective headband at night to protect your ears


Otoplasty Side Effects and Surgery Risks

When an otoplasty procedure is performed by a qualified and experienced cosmetic surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. Ear surgery is commonly performed and generally safe. The possibility of complications arising depends on each patient‘s anatomy, their physical reactions, and their healing abilities. As with any surgery, the outcome is not predictable.

Otoplasty patients may experience some or all of these side effects after ear surgery:

  1. Temporary discomfort and numbness
  2. Headaches
  3. Swelling
  4. Bruising
  5. Asymmetry
  6. Itching or numbness at the incision line, usually temporary
Fortunately, significant complications from aesthetic ear surgery are infrequent. Every year, many successful cosmetic ear surgeries are performed, without any major problems occurring.

There are similar risks and complications in most surgeries. Some of the potential complications of otoplasty that your ear surgeon will discuss with you include:
  1. Hematoma (an accumulation of blood under the skin that may require removal)
  2. Infection in the cartilage area
  3. Changes in sensation
  4. Scarring
  5. Blood clot on the ear
  6. Allergic reactions to the anesthesia
  7. Damage to underlying structures
  8. Need for revision surgery
  9. Unsatisfactory results
  10. Sutures may be visible or may break allowing for partial or complete recurrence of the protrusion and / or loss of the ear fold causing irregularities, sharp folds and other shape abnormalities.
The possible complications of any operation include an unexpected reaction to the anaesthetic, excessive bleeding, infection, or developing a blood clot, usually in a vein in the leg (deep vein thrombosis, DVT). Antibiotics may be needed to help prevent infection.

You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions of your otoplasty surgeon, both before and after your ear surgery.


Questions to Ask a Surgeon about an Otoplasty procedure

Knowledge is power so arm yourself with the facts before making any decision about otoplasty surgery. Here is an essential check list to help you find the right Perfect Yourself Surgeon.

  1. Am I a good candidate for otoplasty surgery?
  2. Are my described expectations realistic?
  3. Where is the surgery performed?
  4. How long will the procedure take?
  5. What kind of anesthesia is used?
  6. What is your experience in performing otoplasty surgery?
  7. Can I see your qualifications?
  8. Ask to see any otoplasty before and after photographs of recent surgeries
  9. What percentages of your otoplasty surgery patients have had significant post-surgical complications? (surgeons should disclose this information to you)
  10. Who will be assisting my surgery? Can I see their qualifications?
  11. How much will my otoplasty surgery cost?
  12. Do you offer patient financing? (Flexible payment schemes for your surgery)
  13. Will you repeat/correct procedures if the agreed goals are not met? If this is the case, will I be charged again?
  14. Ask to observe the exact procedure you are considering before you decided to have surgery if you are unsure (this could be on videotape or in real life).
  15. What is the recovery and healing period for otoplasty? When can I resume full normal activity?
  16. Have you ever had your malpractice insurance coverage denied, revoked, suspended?
  17. Ask for and follow up on patient references (these can be invaluable to finding out what your surgeon is really like and the level of customer satisfaction he/she has received in the past)


Surgeon Checklist

Surgeon Checklist

Knowledge is power so arm yourself with the facts before making any decision about Ear Surgery (Otoplasty) procedures; click here for an essential check list to help you find the right Perfect Yourself plastic surgeon.

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