What Is Otoplasty? Benefits, Recovery and More

what is otoplasty

When you think of plastic surgery, what’s the first surgical procedure that comes to mind? Maybe a facelift or a breast augmentation? While these are some of the most common, there are a variety of plastic surgery types that many people don’t know. One of them is otoplasty.

What is otoplasty? Otoplasty changes the position, shape, and size of the ears. The procedure was first introduced in 1959. Plastic surgeons use permanent sutures to adjust your ears, correcting any defects.

Are you interested in getting an otoplasty done? Continue reading to learn more about the benefits, the procedure, and what you can expect during the recovery process.

What Is Otoplasty?

As we have seen previously, otoplasty is cosmetic surgery of the ears. Since this is a plastic surgery procedure, patients who undergo otoplasty do so for aesthetic purposes.

Most patients struggle with slight imperfections, such as ears that stick out farther than average. However, otoplasty is also popular among those who have defective ears, which usually occurs as a result of a birth defect or injury.

One of the reasons why otoplasty stands out is one can get this operation done, even at a young age. Most surgeons allow children as young as five years old to get an otoplasty. Keep in mind, most children get an otoplasty if their parents notice prominent ear defects from the time they were born.

Why You May Want an Otoplasty

Here are some reasons why you may want to get an otoplasty:

  • Disproportionately large ears
  • Your ears stick out too much
  • Previous ear surgery went wrong
  • Defects and injuries

What if you only have problems with one ear? Your surgeon will likely perform the operation on both ears anyway, to ensure your ears are symmetrical. An otoplasty shouldn’t affect your hearing.


The main reason why patients undergo otoplasty is that they’re insecure about their prominent ears. If you have disproportionally large ears, a surgeon will correct the appearance.

An otoplasty comes with additional benefits:

  • Improves the appearance of ear abnormalities
  • Repositions the ears
  • Reduces the size of large ears

Otoplasty recovery is generally quick and easy. We will discuss this more in another section. Plus, modern otoplasty is not only effective but safe. This is an advanced procedure that has existed for decades. As long as you go to a quality surgeon, you can expect exceptional results.

What to Expect From the Operation

If you made the decision to get an otoplasty, you’re probably wondering how the procedure will go. There are some things to expect before, during, and after the operation.


Before the procedure, you’ll have a consultation with the surgeon. Your surgeon will discuss the concerns you have with your ear appearance. They will examine your ears and will take a look at your medical history. All of this is to decide if you’re a good candidate for the surgery.

When the surgeon verifies that you’re an ideal candidate, they will form a plan and will share the details of the procedure with you. All surgeons have individual techniques and they will use them to achieve the desired results. It’s also good to know where the surgeon is making incisions and to prepare yourself for potential scarring.


Otoplasty is considered an outpatient procedure, so you’ll get the surgery done at a hospital or outpatient surgery facility. Most times, you’ll be put under anesthesia. Your surgeon may choose either general anesthesia, which sedates you, or local anesthesia, which numbs part of your body.

As stated previously, there are various otoplasty techniques and all procedures are different. During the consultation, your surgeon will discuss their techniques with you.

For the most part, they will make incisions on either the inner creases or the backs of the ears. From here, the surgeon will remove excess cartilage and skin. They will take existing cartilage and will fold it to fit the ear shape you desire. They will stitch up your ear where necessary. Depending on the procedure, you can expect it to last two hours.


Surgery recovery is quicker than other plastic surgery procedures, though it may take time for you to 100% return to your normal life.

After the procedure, your surgeon will bandage your ears. You can expect to feel some discomfort, but the pain shouldn’t be too intense. Your doctor may prescribe medication for the pain and to prevent an infection. It’s important that you follow the required dose for these medications. If you feel intense pain, even when taking pain medication, contact your doctor.

Be sure to sleep on your back or stomach during the first few days of recovery. Refrain from touching your ears, especially not the incisions. Avoid wearing pull-over shirts and sweaters. Stick to shirts that button or zip.

After a few days, you will attend a follow-up appointment where your doctor will remove the bandages. Some redness and swelling are normal. Your doctor may recommend you wear certain protective items, such as a headband over your ears, for a few weeks. Don’t perform any physical activities, such as sports and exercise, until approved by your doctor.

How to Prepare for an Otoplasty

Fortunately, there’s not a lot you need to do to prepare for an otoplasty. Your surgeon may ask you avoid eating certain medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin, and certain herbal supplements. All of these can increase bleeding.

You’ll also want to make some basic lifestyle changes. Smoking slows down the recovery process. If you’re a cigarette smoker, either decrease the amount you smoke or quit altogether.

Since you’ll be under anesthesia, you won’t be able to drive. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your operation.

Are You Looking for an Otoplasty Surgeon?

What is otoplasty? Otoplasty is the cosmetic surgery of the ears. If you’re interested in an otoplasty, the first step is to find the best plastic surgeon.

If you’re based in Wilmington, NC, you don’t have to look far. Dr. Church possesses the skill, knowledge, and artistry in order to get the best results. Dr. Church has won numerous awards, including the Reader’s Choice Family Favorite 2021 and Wilmington’s Best 2021. In addition, Dr. Church receives an average 4.9 star rating.

If you’re looking beyond an otoplasty, Dr. Church also performs rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty, and injectables. Contact Dr. Church today to request a complimentary consultation.

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