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All you need to know about ear surgery

What is ear surgery?

Ear surgery, also known as otoplasty, is a plastic surgery that aims to improve the appearance, size, shape, or position of the outer ear.

 

The typical otoplasty involves only pinning the ears back and decreasing projection. Ear surgery can also help if one ear looks bigger than the other.

Who is an ideal candidate for ear surgery?

Ear surgery can be done at any age after they have reached their full size and is usually performed on both ears to ensure symmetry.

 

An ideal candidate for ear surgery is someone in good general health and when:

 

  • The ear or ears stick out too far

  • The ears are large in proportion to the head

  • If you are dissatisfied with a previous ear surgery

What are the possible risks of ear surgery?

As any other major surgery, this type of procedure carries some possible risks that include:

 

  • Scarring

  • Changes in skin sensation

  • Infection of the skin

  • Keloid formation, depending on your skin type

  • Infection of the cartilage of the ear

  • Asymmetry from an improper healing process

  • Inflammation from stitches

  • Overcorrection

  • Bleeding

  • Hematoma

  • Pain

What happens during ear surgery?

Ear surgery is an outpatient procedure that takes about two hours and is usually done under local anesthesia.

 

Your plastic surgeon typically creates an incision behind or inside the ear, removes cartilage and skin, and uses sutures to move your ear tissue into the desired position, closes the incisions, and applies bandages to protect your ears as they heal.

What should I expect after ear surgery?

You should expect a week of downtime after the procedure and some level of discomfort and itching.

 

Your plastic surgeon will prescribe pain medication and suggest to avoid sleeping on your side to keep pressure from your ears.

 

Ask your doctor about the proper time to resume daily activities, such as bathing and physical activity.

What should I expect in an ear surgery recovery?

A few days after ear surgery, your doctor will remove your bandages.

 

You should expect to wear a loose headband to cover your ears at night for two to six weeks to help you from pulling your ears forward when rolling over in bed.

 

Full recovery takes three to four months post-surgery and results are usually permanent.

 

After your bandages are removed, you'll notice an immediate change in the appearance of your ears. These changes are permanent.

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