What is ear reshaping (otoplasty)?

If you’re not happy with the size, shape, position or look of one or both of your ears, otoplasty, or ear reshaping, can help. Otoplasty can also correct ears that are misshapen due to injury, or defects in the outer ear structure that have been present since birth.
 
Otoplasty can improve the proportions of the ears — for example, if they are too large or stick out too much — and their relationship to the face.

How ear reshaping otoplasty works

Otoplasty can be performed with local anesthesia, general anesthesia or intravenous sedation; your surgeon will talk with you about what’s best for you.
 
The anatomy of your ear and the changes you would like to make will help to determine what kind of procedure is used. Your surgeon could make incisions inside the creases of your ears, or on the backs of your ears. If the ear sticks out too much, excess tissue or cartilage can be removed. Ear folds can be sculpted by changing existing cartilage or placing sutures that change the shape. Sometimes a combination of techniques is needed to get the result you want.

How long does it take to recover from ear reshaping (otoplasty)?

Your ears will be bandaged for a few days, and you’ll likely have swelling and redness for a week or so after the procedure — but as with every surgery, recovery is highly individual. During your consultation, your surgeon will talk with you about what to expect.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ear Reshaping (Otoplasty)

Q. Can otoplasty be performed on children?

A. Healthy children are usually able to have an ear reshaping procedure at age 5 or older, once the ear cartilage is stable enough to be corrected. Some nonsurgical reshaping procedures (e.g., ear molding) can be performed on newborns while their ear cartilage is still soft.

Q. Are there visible scars after otoplasty?

A. The incisions for ear reshaping procedures are usually well hidden behind the ear (nearly invisible if the surgery has positioned the ear closer to the skull) or in the natural folds of the ear tissue, so scars are not typically visible.

Q. Does otoplasty have any effect on hearing?

A. Otoplasty is focused only on the external structures of the ear and will not affect hearing.

Q. Do I have to have both ears reshaped?

A. To ensure that the ears are symmetrical, otoplasty is usually performed on both ears at once though sometimes if a single ear is affected, only that one can be addressed.