What is an otoplasty?
An otoplasty (pinnaplasty) is a procedure done to reduce or set back prominent ears by reshaping them.
Who is suitable for an otoplasty?
If you are concerned by the prominence of your ears and how they stick out, you may be suitable for an otoplasty.
If you smoke, are on blood-thinning medication or have significant health problems, this will need to be assessed and you may be advised to wait or not to have an otoplasty. Otoplasty can be done for children but not very young children and only if the child themselves is troubled by their ears and willing to undergo the surgery.
There are variations depending on your individual anatomy and goals. The standard surgery can be done under local anaesthesia in adults although it is more often done under general anaesthesia in children. Skin incisions are placed in the crease at the back of your ears. A small piece of skin is removed. The skin is lifted to allow reshaping of the underlying cartilage to create a stronger fold in your ear and the bowl of your ear may be set back further as well or reduced in size in some cases. This reduces the prominence of your ears. Drains are not used. Stitches are absorbable.
Otoplasty can be done on its own or in combination with other procedures. Common combinations include ear lobe reduction and other facial rejuvenation procedures.
Duration of surgery
1 to 1.5 hours depending on the extent of surgery. If other procedures are planned at the same time, the overall surgery time is longer.
You will have gauze over the incision and a headband in place. You will need to wear the headband constantly for 3 days and then at night for 6 weeks. Otoplasty is an outpatient procedure or day case procedure. You can shower with care after 72 hours including washing your hair.
On average 1 to 2 weeks off work are needed. No heavy lifting or strenuous activity is allowed for 6 weeks. Reduce bending and stooping as much as possible and sleep on extra pillows at night to help reduce swelling. Some forms of exercise can be restarted at 4 weeks. Most exercise is restarted at 6 weeks. Driving is not allowed until you are safe to perform an emergency stop.
Unfortunately, complications can occur after all surgery and you need to be aware of this. Ms Nugent will do her utmost to reduce your risk as much as she can. This includes the health and procedure advice she gives you before surgery, the care and precautions she takes during surgery and the advice she gives you after surgery. Some of the complications that can happen include slow healing, infection, bleeding, poor scarring including keloid scars, asymmetry, pain, numbness or sensitivity in the skin, recurrence of prominence, damage to skin or cartilage, unnatural shape of ear.
Most patients who undergo otoplasty surgery are very happy with their results and describe it as being transformative for them. Success depends on being prepared for your surgery, choosing the right procedure, the surgery itself and recovering well. All steps in the journey are crucial!
Download the detailed information booklet on this page to read more and book a consultation to discuss your individual circumstances with Ms Nugent!