Ear Surgery (Otoplasty) Basics

Plastic surgeons usually perform ear surgery (also known as otoplasty) on patients who wish to reduce their large ears to a smaller size, or who want to “pin” their prominent ears so they lay closer to the head—but we can also use ear surgery to correct a birth defect in the ear structure, or to restore ears that have been damaged by injury.

Different approaches can be used for ear surgery, depending on the outcome desired. The surgery will always begin the same way—with an incision behind the ear, in the area where the ear joins the head in a natural fold. Following that incision is where techniques diverge: in some cases, it’s necessary to trim the cartilage of the ear in order to shape it properly; in others, it’s possible to fold the cartilage on itself in order to reshape the ear, using "stitches" to hold it in place, and no cartilage removal is necessary. In both cases, some skin will be removed to achieve the right effect, but the only telltale sign of the procedure will be a small scar behind the ear, which will fade in time.

Ear surgery usually takes about two hours, although complicated procedures (those requiring extensive reshaping of the cartilage) may take longer.

Ear surgery can improve the shape, position, and proportion of the ear. If you’re interested in learning more about the many otoplastic possibilities available to you, contact my offices today!