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NorthShore Plastic Surgery
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Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)

Surgery of the ear, also known as otoplasty, is a procedure that helps reduce the prominent look to the ears. This ear surgery is common in children over the age of 7 and in adults. Ears that “stick out” can be a source of teasing and ridicule in young children, with negative effects on a child’s self-image. 

Cosmetic procedures are also available for adults with large ears or congenital birth irregularities that detract from their appearance. Individuals may also have abnormal ears because of their genetic makeup, or accidental injury such as losing an ear or part of an ear. Earlobe surgery to reduce the size of the earlobes and to fix torn or stretched earring holes is also very common.

Reasons for Considering Ear Surgery

  • Achieve proportion to the face if the ears “stick out” too much
  • Correct folded ear tips (lop ear)
  • Reshape long or offset earlobes
  • Enhance very small ears or other congenital defects
  • Remedy an accidental injury or torn/stretched earlobes

Procedure Description

Otoplasty may involve incisions, or may be amenable to incisionless techniques depending on the shape of the ear.
 There are numerous surgical techniques involved in correcting ear irregularities. Your specific concerns and surgical plan will be discussed during your consultation.

  • Anesthesia: General (children) or local (most adults)
  • Length of surgery: 1 to 2.5 hours
  • Length of stay: Outpatient (home the same day)

Recovery Process and Final Result

  • Back to school/work: 1 week
  • Exercise: May be resumed in 3 weeks
  • Discomfort: Mild to moderate (anticipate 2 to 3 days of prescription pain medication)
  • Swelling: Mild to moderate (should be gone in 2 to 3 weeks)
  • Bruising: Possible (will decrease within 2 weeks)
  • Bandages: Removed within a week and replaced with smaller dressings and/or a headband

Swelling will be minimized and final results visible 1 to 2 weeks following surgery.

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