Ear Correction (Otoplasty)
What is an Otoplasty (Ear Correction) procedure and why is
An otoplasty procedure can help men, women and children of all
ages to overcome the embarrassment and distress caused by irregular
shaped or protruding ears.
It is now widely accepted that it can be psychologically harmful
for children and adolescents to leave protruding and irregular
shaped ears to become a point of undue attention throughout
the developing years. Consequently, otoplasty surgery is one
of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures provided to
The ultimate objective is for the surgeon to create a natural,
proportionate and symmetrical (even) looking appearance, leaving no
visible sign that surgery has taken place.
An otoplasty procedure can involve the surgical refining of the
size, the shape and the position of the ear, or a combination of
What kind of people request this procedure?
- Children and adolescents who are self conscious about their
- Men and women who are restricted by the way camouflaging their
protruding ears causes compromise to their choice of hairstyle
- Men who find that as they grow older their hair thins, creating
a subsequent difficulty in camouflaging their ear shape
How is an otoplasty procedure performed?
An otoplasty is performed by refining or thinning the
cartilaginous structure from behind the ear. Surgical incisions
are ordinarily placed behind the ear in the natural crease
(where the ear margin joins the side of the head) and consequently
scars from this particular procedure are not usually visible.
Occasionally, for the correction of large ear lobes, external
incisions may need to be positioned on or around the lobe area, but
these incisions are usually insignificant in size and tend to
blend in with the natural contour and creases around the ear lobe
once healing is complete.
Following the surgical re-contouring of the cartilage, the skin
at the back of the ear is redraped and secured in place by surgical
sutures (stitches) and then supported in the new position by a
carefully applied, turban style pressure bandage. This pressure
bandage typically stays in place for around five to seven days
This procedure is usually performed as a day case under local
anaesthetic or may involve a one night’s stay in hospital
if performed under general anaesthetic. Under normal
conditions a typical otoplasty procedure can take around one to one
and a half hours to perform.
What are the results like?
This particular procedure can provide excellent results, freeing
men and women from the unwanted attention that can be caused by
large, irregular or protruding ears.
This corrective procedure is a very precise one and should only
be performed by a Consultant Plastic Surgeon or Consultant E.N.T
Surgeon who is fully qualified and experienced to skillfully
perform this type of surgery.
Obviously improved results will take place almost immediately
following otoplasty surgery, but these results will be initially
obscured by support bandaging (turban) and then the bruising and
swelling which typically follows this type of procedure.
It can take 7 to 14 days for this initial swelling and bruising
to settle to an acceptable appearance. After initial swelling has
settled down, subtle improvements to the contour of the newly
shaped ear will take place for up to six months following
Are there any risks involved in ear reshaping
All surgery involves an element of risk from developing
complications. However, cosmetic surgery is usually undertaken
voluntarily and on customers in good health. Therefore, the
probability of developing complications from this kind of surgery
are substantially lower than those who undergo surgery due to ill
Risks such as bleeding, alteration in sensitivity, delayed
healing, infection, asymmetry and scarring will all be discussed
quite openly at consultation, as well as our scrupulous efforts to
manage and minimise these risks to their lowest possible
It is often reported that altered sensitivity and numbness to
the ears is a common side effect for up to 12 months following
Mostly, the fine incisions and subsequent scars made during this
procedure are well hidden behind the ear. However, the appearance
of scars (which generally fade progressively after surgery) are a
highly individual matter. Usually these fine scars mature, soften
and fade to a negligible level.
Occasionally, customers can develop firm, raised, discoloured
scarring, known as hypertrophic or keloid scarring, which may
require further corrective treatment.
How will you feel after an Otoplasty procedure and what is the
recovery period like?
Following an otoplasty procedure the ear incision and
surrounding skin area are often quite tender for several weeks
following surgery. Analgesic tablets (pain killers) are always
provided for any discomfort and customers are encouraged to stay as
upright as possible during their early recovery stage to help
diminish residual swelling and bruising.
Patients usually describe the way they feel as ‘sore and
uncomfortable’ rather than experiencing specific pain. These
symptoms typically diminish rapidly after post-operative bandaging
Following the removal of the post-operative turban style support
bandaging (7-14 days post operation), patients are advised to
gently shower and wash their hair on a daily basis in order to keep
early healing wounds as clean as possible.
Every surgeon’s otoplasty technique can differ slightly and
surgical wounds can be sutured with either absorbable or
unabsorbable stitches. If stitches need removing, they are normally
removed five to seven days following surgery.
Patients are asked to avoid any level of activity that would put
undue strain on the newly operated areas and to avoid contact
sports for six weeks following surgery.
It is important for patients to keep their hands away from
healing wounds and to pay meticulous attention to
personal hygiene throughout the early post-operative
period. Your nurse will provide instructions for managing the
Patients will also be advised to take a specific amount of
recovery time away from work, dependent on the type of job they
perform, but it is usual to take at least a week to rest and
recover at home following this procedure.
The importance of a thorough pre-operative consultation with the
actual Consultant Plastic or E.N.T. Surgeon who will perform your
operation cannot be over stressed. You need time to consider all
the benefits and risks of otoplasty surgery and the time and
opportunity to reflect and consider all the information the surgeon
offers you before you make a decision regarding your potential
With Vive, each consultation is tailored to an individual’s
needs, but a consultation will always involve a thorough evaluation
of your present and past medical history and a physical examination
of the problem area. Your Consultant Surgeon will take time to
listen to your concerns and will take care to ensure that you have
thorough understanding of what can be done to help, the
procedure itself, the recovery stage and a clear explanation of the
You are positively encouraged to ask any questions that you may
have at your consultation and to look at photographs of others who
have had a similar type of surgery to the procedure you are
considering. If you would find it helpful, our advisory team may be
able to arrange for you to speak with a previous patient who is
willing to discuss their experience with you over the