Otoplasty or cosmetic ear surgery is performed to change the shape, size or position of the ears. It can pin the ears back closer to the head if they are standing out too much. It is also done to improve the symmetry of the ears. With an improved appearance, the ears look better-proportioned with the rest of the face. 

The surgery is done on the auricle or the visible area of the outer ear. The auricle is made of folds of cartilage that are covered by skin. It starts developing after birth and continues to develop for a couple of years.

Some people end up with poorly developed auricles so they choose to have this plastic surgery to improve the size, shape or position of their ears. 

This surgery can improve the appearance of ears that have changed their shape because of trauma or injury. It can effectively correct the appearance of the ear in a single surgery. Also, it can reduce the size of the ears if they are too big compared to the rest of the head. Or if the ears are underdeveloped, otoplasty can even correct that issue. 

Otoplasty is a safe procedure and provides more than satisfying results. Patients feel more confident about their better-shaped ears and enjoy socializing more. With improved ear appearance, patients enhance their self-esteem and quality of life.

Procedure info at a glance

Will I be awake or asleep during the surgery? Local or general anesthesia can be used, depending on the extent of surgery
Do I stay in hospital after surgery? The patient can leave the hospital the same day
What is the recovery time? When can I return to work/exercise? Back to school/work in 1-2 weeks, back to gym after 12 weeks
How long will the surgery last? 1-3 hours, depending on the extent of surgery
How long until the final results of surgery are visible? 7 days after the surgery when bandages are removed


Since ear correction surgery is done for various reasons, there are different techniques for this procedure.

Ear pinning or pinnaplasty

positions the ears closer to the head or pins them back. It is done on children, teenagers or adults whose ears stick out too much from the sides of their heads.

This is the most common procedure and the one that plastic surgeons at Lucia Clinic perform.

Ear enlargement

is performed on people whose ears haven’t properly developed and are too small. Otoplasty can augment the size of the outer ear.

Ear reduction

resolves the issue of Macrotia or overly large ears. Otoplasty can decrease the size of the ears so that they are better proportionate with the rest of the face and head. 


Otoplasty can offer a lot of benefits to patients. 

It can improve the patient’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Asymmetrical or protruding ears can cause insecurity and embarrassment, so ear correction surgery can improve the quality of a patient’s life and improve the patient’s self-image. 

It effectively addresses patients’ concerns about the size, shape or appearance of their ears.

Otoplasty results are permanent. Once the ears are reshaped or trimmed, the newly shaped ear cartilage will last forever. 

It can improve ear proportion and make the entire face appear more harmonious. Ear pinning closer to the head, without changing the actual size of the ears can make the face look more attractive. 

It is a very safe procedure. The outer ear is very thick and can quickly heal after the surgery. When the surgery is done by a highly-qualified plastic surgeon, there is minimal to no risk of complications or severe side effects.

After the surgery, most patients recover quite quickly – there is minimal swelling and bruising which resolves fast. The patients can continue with their daily activities soon after the surgery, provided that they take care of their newly shaped ears properly and as the surgeon has recommended. 



    Generally, otoplasty is an effective solution for patients who would like to:

    Reduce the prominence of overly large ears
    Reposition the ears so they stand flatter on the sides of the head
    Correct the appearance of congenital ear abnormalities

    Good candidates must be over 6 years old. This is when the auricle has almost entirely developed.

    The candidates for otoplasty should be in good health because some medical conditions can interfere with the healing process.


    Before scheduling otoplasty surgery, the patient has a consultation with the plastic surgeon. The surgeon examines the patient’s ears and determines what kind of correction they need. He examines the size, shape and position of the ears and takes measurements.

    The patient talks about previous medical history especially the history of ear infection, previous surgeries and current medications he/she might be taking.

    The surgeon informs the patient about the whole procedure and possible risks.

    If the surgeon determines that the patient is a suitable candidate for this surgery, he takes the patient’s needs and expectations from the surgery into consideration and creates a customized treatment plan that addresses the patient’s specific ear aesthetic concerns.


    The surgeon may advise the patient to avoid taking blood-thinning medicines (aspirin, ibuprofen) anti-inflammatory medicines and herbal supplements because they can increase the risk of excessive bleeding during and after the operations.

    If the patient smokes, the surgeon may recommend stopping it for a couple of weeks before the surgery because smoking can interfere with the healing and slow it down.

    Also, it is important to arrange for someone to drive the patient home after the surgery and to stay with him/her for the first 24 hours.


    When the patient arrives at the surgical facility, he/she is first prepped for the otoplasty surgery.

    Then the patient is given either general anesthesia or local anesthesia and sedation. The choice of anesthesia is predetermined during the consultation with the surgeon and the anesthesiologist.
    Then the surgery can start.
    Generally, the surgeon starts by making an incision inside the folds of the ear or on the back of the patient’s ear. Then he manipulates the tissue inside the ear - he can remove the cartilage or skin.
    Finally, the surgeon closes the incisions with stitches and places the bandages over the treated area.
    The whole procedure usually lasts between 1 to 3 hours, depending on the patient’s needs and the extent of the surgery.
    Otoplasty is usually done as an outpatient procedure, so the patient can go home soon after the surgery.


    Every surgery carries a certain risk of side effects so otoplasty is no exception. Usual side effects might include redness, swelling, bruising and numbness of the treated area. The patient’s ears may feel tender, sore and itchy.

    More serious and rare risks include bleeding, infection, changes in the sensation of the skin, allergic reaction and others.

    In case of these or any other unusual side effects, the patient must inform the surgeon right away.


    The length of recovery may vary from patient to patient. It depends on how fast the patient is healing.

    It is very important to follow all the doctor's aftercare instructions in order to speed up the recovery and achieve the best results from the surgery.

    After the surgery, the patient will have dressings over the ears. It’s important to keep the dressing dry and clean.

    The patient should avoid scratching and touching the ears in order not to infect or disturb the wound.

    It is also recommended to sleep in a position that won’t pressure the ears, like on the back for example and to wear clothes that button in the front and not pull over the head.

    If the patient has dissolvable stitches, they will disappear on their own, but if not, the patient will need to meet with the surgeon to remove the stitches.

    The bandages need to stay in the treated area for about 7 days. When the surgeon removes the bandages, the patient needs to wear an elastic headband for 4 to 6 weeks. The headband can be worn during sleep because it prevents the patient from pulling the ears forward when changing the position of the head.

    The patient won’t be able to wash his/her hair until the surgeon removes the bandages.

    Returning to normal daily activities solely depends on the speed of the patient’s recovery and the surgeon’s recommendations. Generally, children can return to school after 1 to 2 weeks. After 4 to 6 weeks, patients can go swimming and after 12 weeks continue with sports and other activities.


    After the surgeon removes the bandages, the patient can immediately notice that his/her ears have changed in appearance.

    The results are permanent and natural-looking.

    The patient has a tiny scar behind the ears that should fade with time.