Otoplasty is a surgical procedure to reshape or reposition the ears to improve their appearance and proportion to the head. The plastic surgeons at Lickstein Plastic Surgery are experienced in facial plastic surgery and offer a range of ear surgery procedures, including “ear pinning” to minimize ears that protrude from the head. We work with patients from Palm Beach Gardens, Jupiter, and Port St. Lucie, providing customized treatment plans that deliver natural-looking results and boost self-confidence.

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What Does Otoplasty Treat?

Otoplasty is typically used to correct prominent or protruding ears that are disproportionate to the rest of the face. For many patients, surgical correction can resolve the embarrassment of self-consciousness of having prominent ears that “stick out”.

In addition to protruding ears, otoplasty can also be used to correct:

  • Overly large ears (macrotia)
  • Disproportionately small ears (microtia)
  • Asymmetry of the ears
  • Abnormalities resulting from injury or congenital birth defects
  • Ears that have torn or been stretched by piercings

Types of Otoplasty

Ear pinning is a general term for any cosmetic surgery that reduces the prominence of the ears. There are several different surgical techniques that may be used for an otoplasty procedure:

  • Cartilage scoring: In this technique, the surgeon makes an incision behind the ear and then uses a special tool to score the cartilage, which is then reshaped and repositioned to create a more natural-looking ear.
  • Cartilage sparing: In this technique, the surgeon makes an incision behind the ear and then reshapes the cartilage without removing any of it. This technique is often used for patients who have less severe ear deformities.
  • Conchal setback: This technique involves reshaping the concha, which is the inner part of the ear, and repositioning it closer to the head. This can help reduce the prominence of the ear.
  • Earlobe reduction: This otoplasty technique is used to reduce the size of the earlobe or to correct any deformities in the earlobe.
before otoplasty
after otoplasty

Otoplasty: What to Expect

Your Otoplasty Consultation

The first step in preparing for otoplasty is a consultation appointment with one of our experienced surgeons. In addition to examining your ears, we will review your medical history, discuss your options, and answer any questions you have. If you decide that otoplasty is right for you or your child, then we will create a customized treatment plan and give you detailed pre-surgical guidelines.

Your Otoplasty Procedure

Otoplasty is typically an outpatient procedure that takes 1-2 hours and is performed under local anesthesia or general anesthesia, depending on the patient's age and preference. Your surgeon will make incisions behind the ear and then reshape and reposition the cartilage to achieve the desired outcome. The incisions are then closed with sutures.

Recovery After Otoplasty

After the surgery, patients may experience some minor discomfort and swelling, but these symptoms usually subside within a few days. Your surgeon will advise you on aftercare and may provide you with a special headband to wear in the beginning of your recovery. Most patients can return to work or school within a week of the surgery, but should avoid any strenuous activities for several weeks to allow the ears to heal properly.

Otoplasty FAQs

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Who is a candidate for ear surgery?

Good candidates for otoplasty are individuals who are in good health and have realistic expectations about the outcome of the procedure. Otoplasty is often performed on children between the ages of 5 and 14, as well as adults.

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Is there an age requirement for otoplasty in children?

Pediatric otoplasty can be performed once the child’s ear cartilage is stable, which is typically around the age of 5. Children should be mature enough to communicate their feelings and willing to cooperate and follow any pre- and post-surgical instructions.

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Will the results of otoplasty be permanent?

The results of otoplasty are designed to be permanent. In some rare cases, the ears may shift after surgery and a touch-up procedure may be needed to correct them.

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Where are the incisions placed for otoplasty?

Otoplasty incisions are typically placed on the back of the ear. The natural crease there hides the incision site so that any scars are not usually visible.

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Will otoplasty affect hearing ability?

No, otoplasty is a cosmetic procedure that alters the external ear only and is not meant to affect hearing.

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What are the risks and complications associated with otoplasty?

Any procedure carries some risk and our team works diligently to minimize complications. Potential risks and complications associated with otoplasty may include infection, bleeding, scarring, asymmetry, numbness, or a recurrence of the original ear shape. 2

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Can otoplasty be combined with other procedures?

In adult patients who are seeking comprehensive facial balancing, otoplasty may be combined with other plastic and reconstructive surgery procedures such as a facelift.

Contact us to request a consultation

Contact us to request a consultation!

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Trused Source Icon - Checkbox Sources

1 American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Ear surgery. Available: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/ear-surgery. Accessed March 22, 2023

2 Mayo Clinic. Otoplasty. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/otoplasty/about/pac-20394822. Accessed March 22, 2023

The Doctors at Lickstein Plastic Surgery have either authored or reviewed and approved this content.
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