What is it?

The otoplasty or cosmetic ear surgery is a procedure to reduce the detachment of the ears or for the ears having a birth deformity as well as those that have been affected by a traumatic injury. Otoplasty is frequently requested by adolescents and even children, due to the psychological and social problems associated to this deformity.

Besides the protruding ears or ears “in jug”, other problems may also be solved with surgery. These include the contracted ear and the ear cup. They can also be improved surgically the elongated lobes and the torn lobes. The plastic surgeon is also able to create a new ear when you born without it (microtia) or when you lose it due to a trauma.


If the child is young, the plastic surgeon will recommend to perform the intervention under general anaesthesia. For older children and adults, local anaesthesia is used with or without sedation, so that you are awake during the surgery, but relaxed.


Otoplasty usually takes about an hour and a half, although in complex cases may take longer. The technique used depends on the specific problem. A small incision in the back of the ear is usually made in order to expose the ear cartilage. Afterwards, the cartilage is sculpted and folded back; internal stitches can be used in order to maintain the new shape. Sometimes it may be necessary to remove part of the cartilage to achieve a more natural ear. Finally, a wedge of skin on the back of the ear is removed. The scar resulting from otoplasty is hidden behind the ear.


Most patients who undergo this surgery are quite healthy in a few hours, although it may be advisable to stay overnight in the clinic until the effects of general anaesthesia wear off. A bandage around the head is placed immediately upon the completion of the surgery. The ears may hurt a bit the first few days, but this pain is easily relieved with medication. Within a few days, the bulky bandages will be replaced by a lighter head dressing similar to a headband.


The results of ear surgery can be seen immediately by removing the bandages and they are permanent. Retouching is rarely necessary.

Among all the surgical procedures, otoplasty requires one of the shortest recovery times.


Most adults go back to work within 5 days after surgery; children return to school in about 7 days, provided they are careful with physical activities.

The ear surgery patients experience very few side effects in the postoperative period. Recovery from ear surgery can take up to six weeks; however, adult patients can usually resume their routine activities a few days after the procedure. In general, children require a week off before returning to school.