Otoplasty (Prominent Ears)


Ear reshaping surgery, or otoplasty, is a procedure that is used to ‘pin back’ overly prominent ears. The goal is to achieve a natural appearance, with the ears in harmony with the rest of the face.

The operation is more commonly performed in childhood but is also successful in the adult. All incisions are small and well hidden at the back of the ear. It can provide great psychological benefits to anyone who has been teased about the size or shape of their ears, has had a serious ear injury, or simply wants to improve their appearance.

An incision is made behind the ear to gain access to the cartilage, which is then is reshaped, contoured and then sutured into a more aesthetically pleasing position.

Incisions nearly always camouflage nicely in the natural crease on the back of the ear. The skin is then closed and a bulky dressing and headband is applied for about five days.

Otoplasty surgery may be helpful for the following conditions:

  • Large or protruding ears
  • Lop ear (top of the ear folds downward or inward)
  • Cupped ear (a small ear)
  • Large, stretched, or torn earlobes


The procedure is usually performed under general anesthetic as a day case, or under local anesthesia in the office and takes less than an hour. Following surgery, a bulky bandage will be placed over the ears to protect them for 5-10 days as well as helping control the swelling. Patients can usually return to work or school once the bandage has been removed. After this period, the patient is encouraged to wear a tennis headband to bed for another 4-6 weeks to protect the newly reshaped cartilage.

Most patients report very little pain after this procedure, although there may be a little discomfort or soreness if you bump your ears over the first few weeks.

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