Ear surgery, or otoplasty, can be used to reduce ear size, position ears closer to the head, or correct conditions such as:

  • “Shell ear” (the curve in the outer rim and natural folds and creases are missing)
  • “Lop ear” (the top appears to fold down and forward)
  • “Cupped ear” (the ear is very small)
  • Stretched or large earlobes
  • Wrinkled or creased lobes

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The Procedure

Procedures vary depending on the problem, but one frequently used method involves making a small incision in the back of your ear to expose the cartilage. The doctor then sculpts the cartilage, bending it back toward your head, or removes part of it to change the shape of your ear’s fold. Often non-removable stitches are used to help maintain the new shape.

What Can I Expect?

Your head will be wrapped in a large bandage right after surgery to help the ears heal and hold their new shape. They may ache for a few days, but medication will help.

You should be up and around a few hours after surgery, and your bandages will be replaced by a lighter dressing within a few days. Your stitches should dissolve or be removed in a week, and, if you are an adult, you should be able to return to work after about five days. Children should be ready for school after about seven days, though they must be careful to avoid playground activities that might bend or jar their ears. Ear surgery often leaves a faint scar behind the ear, but that fades with time.

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Before & After Photos

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