What is an Otoplasty?

Otoplasty is a type of ear surgery that improves the shape, size, or projection of the ears. The procedure is sometimes referred to as ear pinning because it has commonly been performed on people whose ears stick out too far. Ear protrusion, lopping, or malformation can be a source of self-esteem issues in people of all ages. Otoplasty is performed to restore the natural shape and normal projection to the ears and face. Doing so can put attention back on the face, away from the ears. The procedure is customized to each patient based on their anatomy, the correction that is needed, and their goals.

Protruding Ears / Otoplasty

We offer a combination of surgery and laser to improve protruding or large ears. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia with minimum downtime. Patients are asked to wear a special dressing for 1-2 weeks.

Who is an ideal candidate for Otoplasty?

Otoplasty is a beneficial procedure that can be performed on healthy patients who have realistic expectations about this surgery. Ear surgery is considered in several scenarios, including:

  • The ears are overly large.
  • The ears protrude far from the head on one or both sides.
  • One ear is larger or shaped differently than the other.
  • The patient has a congenital ear malformation such as lop ear.
  • The previous otoplasty did not achieve satisfactory results.

Can children have Otoplasty surgery?

Yes. Otoplasty can be performed on healthy patients aged 5 years or older. The primary qualification that must be met for pediatric patients is that the ears have reached full physical maturity. This is usually by age 5. Patients should also be free of serious illness and able to comply with post-surgical care instructions. Otoplasty is often performed during childhood to prevent unnecessary emotional stress caused by teasing and self-consciousness about appearance.

How long will the Otoplasty procedure take?

Otoplasty usually takes about two hours. Depending on the type of anesthesia that is administered, a patient may spend some time in a recovery area where surgical staff can monitor them as their anesthesia wears off.

What is the Otoplasty procedure?

The otoplasty procedure is not a singular technique but one or more of several. The surgeon selects which technique is necessary based on the problem needing correction. After anesthetizing the patient, the surgeon makes incisions behind the ears along the groove between the ear and the head. Sometimes, incisions must be made in front of the ears. When this is necessary, the surgeon hides them in the folds as much as possible. To reshape the ears, the surgeon contours and secures cartilage using internal, non-dissolvable sutures. Then, dissolvable sutures are used to close the incisions. At the conclusion of the procedure, a dressing is placed around the ears.

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To learn more about otoplasty, please contact us today at (617) 381-1717 or send us a message below to schedule a consultation.

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What results should I expect after Otoplasty?

While swelling is noticeable after otoplasty, patients can see the changes in the contour and projection of the ears right away. These changes are appreciable immediately after surgery. However, they are obscured by the compression garment that must be worn for a few days. Once the dressing is removed, the new contour of the ears will look normal and attractive. Most of the swelling that occurs after surgery resolves by 4-weeks post-op. The reshaping of the ears lasts indefinitely.

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What are the risks of Otoplasty?

The most common side effects during otoplasty recovery include:

  • Swelling
  • Soreness, tenderness, and itchiness around the ears
  • Redness
  • Bruising
  • Tingling or numbness

Surgical risks include:

  • Anesthesia reaction
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Raised scarring
  • Marked asymmetry
  • Changes in sensation around the ears
  • Suture extrusion that requires the removal or reinsertion of the stitches that secure the shape of the ears

How long will I need to recover after Otoplasty? What is recovery like?

Otoplasty recovery is quite brief. Patients are typically ready to go back to work or school after one week of healing. During the first 24 hours, the ears are swollen and they feel sore. The swelling is not visibly noticeable because the ears are covered with a compression dressing. During this initial recovery, patients take prescription pain medication to control soreness and tenderness. Swelling continues to decrease rapidly over about three days. Still, the compression dressing keeps the ears hidden. This garment may be removed during the first patient follow-up visit during the first week of recovery. After the compression garment is removed, patients wear a headband that protects the ears from bumps, tugs, and pressure. By the end of week two, patients usually feel like their normal selves and are enjoying their new appearance. Strenuous activity and contact sports must be avoided until cleared by the surgeon.

Will I have scarring after an Otoplasty?

Scarring is an unavoidable aspect of surgery. After otoplasty, patients have permanent scars. However, these are hidden behind the ears or within the hairline. After incisions have healed, about one month after surgery, patients may begin using a scar cream or other product to help scars fade.