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Ear Aesthetic (Otoplasty)

If you have the ability to love, love yourself first


Average Stay

2 days

Duration of Hospital Stay


Duration of Operation

1-2 hours

Type of Anesthesia

Local-General Anesthesia

Recovery Time

3 weeks

What is ear aesthetic?

Cosmetic ear surgery, also called otoplasty, is a type of plastic and reconstructive surgery that can improve the size, shape, or position of the outer ear by reshaping the cartilage. It can be performed at any age after the ears have stopped growing, which typically happens by age 5 or 6.

The typical otoplasty involves correcting ears that stick out (aka ear pinning), to decrease their projection. But ear surgery may also be a good option if you want to correct a birth defect that has affected the shape of the ear cartilage or lobe; make your ears appear smaller, or fix the position or shape of uneven ears (when one ear looks bigger than the other).

One of the main reasons patients seek otoplasty is to address asymmetries between the two ears. Most people have at least a minor degree of asymmetry, but in the case of prominent ears, the difference can be more obvious.
While cosmetic ear surgery doesn’t improve hearing, it can provide psychological benefits to people who’ve been teased about the size and shape of their ears, have experienced an ear injury, or simply want to improve their appearance.

The surgery has a high satisfaction rate among patients, including one of our customers: “I spent most of my adult life wearing beanies or headphones to hide my ears, which protruded and resembled those of a goblin or elf,” he says. The surgery gave his ears a more natural shape, without any noticeable scars. “You’d need a microscope to know I wasn’t born like this,” he says. 

Who's a good candidate for ear surgery?

The best candidates for ear plastic surgery are healthy patients with reasonable expectations.

Some patients have unrealistic expectations about perfect symmetry or making the ears too flat to the head. Patients need to understand that a normal ear sticks out from the head enough to allow for normal washing within the crease behind the ears and enough for patients to be able to wear glasses and certain types of earbuds and hearing aids.

Each and every ear is slightly different, even on the same person. The nice part about ears being slightly asymmetric is that people really only fully see one ear on a person at a time, so small asymmetries are not noticeable anyway and should be considered normal.

Poor candidates for otoplasty include patients with bleeding disorders, wound-healing disorders, or other serious medical conditions that might make anesthesia or elective surgery risky.

Can you make your ears smaller with surgery?

Most people don’t have overly large ears. The ears protrude and give the appearance of being too large.

However, occasionally the ear is disproportionately large to the head—and in that case, the ear can be surgically reduced in size, via a so-called wedge resection. The trade-off is a scar on the outside surface that may be undesirably visible.

What happens during ear surgery?

Ear surgery is an outpatient procedure, meaning there’s no hospital stay required and you can go home about two hours after surgery. It’s often done under general anesthesia for kids and local anesthesia for adults, but it will depend on the complexity of the procedure.

Surgical techniques vary based on your goals, but generally, otoplasty involves two primary aspects: reshaping the ear and moving the entire ear closer to the head. 

There are surgical nuances related to how this is performed, and each ear is different. Some ears might need only a few sutures, to change the shape of the upper part of the ear, while other ears might have excellent shape but are simply positioned too far out, in which case the surgery is slightly different. 

Most patients need a combination of techniques, so your surgeon may:

  • Create an incision behind or inside the ear, to minimize visible scarring 

  • Remove cartilage and skin, if necessary 

  • Use sutures to move your ear tissue into the desired position and close the incisions 

  • Apply bandages, to protect your ears as they heal 

The entire procedure should take two to three hours, depending on the complexity of the case.
After surgery, your head will be temporarily wrapped in a bandage, to protect your ears and keep them in place in order to ensure the integrity of the results.

What should you expect during ear surgery recovery?

Adults are usually able to return to normal activities within a few days post-surgery. For children, a week off school is usually recommended.

Otoplasty has a relatively less demanding and painful recovery phase, compared to most other major cosmetic surgeries. The fact that this surgery is often offered and performed in the pediatric population implies a favorable postoperative pain and discomfort profile too.

Here’s a typical timeline for ear surgery recovery:

  • After a few days, the bandage will be replaced with a soft headband. The biggest risk is damaging the surgical correction. Our doctor recommends that his patients wear a protective headband at all times for the first two weeks and then at night after that, but our doctor says that most surgeons require it for only one week, and then at night. Our surgeon may have you sleep on elevated pillows and not on your side, to avoid putting any pressure on your ears. 

  • Sutures will be removed after a week. 

  • Your ears will be tender, swollen, and red for several weeks after the procedure, with bruising around the ears. You can expect mild discomfort (itching, swelling, and throbbing) that will be controlled with oral pain medications. Avoiding strenuous activity for two weeks after surgery will help keep the swelling down.  

  • It’s common to have some numbness in the ears that usually resolves within a month, but it may persist for up to six months.  

  • After four to six weeks, you’ll be able to resume all normal activities, including sports. 


The recovery period is critical to the overall success of ear surgery, so be sure to follow all of our doctor’s post-operative instructions.

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