Otoplasty: Cosmetic Ear Surgery for Protruding Ears

What is an Otoplasty?

Also known as cosmetic ear surgery, otoplasty is a procedure to change the size, shape, and position of the ears. Maybe your ears stick out too far from your head, or maybe one or both of your ears are misshapen due to a congenital disability or an injury. With an otoplasty, deformed or protruding ears are able to be “pinned back” by reshaping the cartilage. While an otoplasty is often performed on both ears to ensure symmetry, having this procedure done will not alter your ability to hear, and it will not change the location of your ears. Usually, after the age of 5, the ears have reached their full size, so an otoplasty, if necessary, can be done at any age after this. However, in some instances, an otoplasty surgery can be done as early as the age of 3. If a child is under the age of 3 and was born with prominent ears or some other ear-shape issues, these issues might be able to be corrected with the use of a splint. Especially if they are started immediately after the child is born.

Why is an Otoplasty Done?

An otoplasty might be considered if the person has any of the following:

• Dissatisfaction with a previously done ear surgery
• One or both ears stick out far from your head
• In proportion to your head, your ears are too large

What are the Risks?

Just like any type of surgery, there is a risk of infection, excess bleeding, and an adverse reaction to anesthesia can occur.

• Unnatural contours of the ear can occur, making the ear(s) appear to be pinned back onto the head.
• Scarring can happen, but the scars are likely to be hidden within the creases of the ears and behind the ears.
• While rarely permanent, you can experience changes in skin sensations on your ears.
• Even after surgery, you may still experience asymmetry in ear placement.