Otoplasty: What You Need to Know About the Procedure

Cosmetic surgery is becoming more and more popular all over the world. One of the less common yet highly successful procedures is otoplasty. Otoplasty is a surgery that takes care of the shape, size, and position of the ear (ous or ot is “ear” in Greek).

While in many cases otoplasty is done for aesthetic reasons, it could have medical indications. We asked Seattle cosmetic surgeons from LaBelleVie to help potential patients learn as much as possible about the procedure.

Who Needs Otoplasty?

If your ears are sticking out or appear disproportionately attached to your head, you may want to consider otoplasty. While the outer ear has little function in helping you hear, the aesthetic component is highly important.

If a patient has problems with self-esteem due to an ear deformity, otoplasty is a fairly simple way to correct it.

Otoplasty is a popular surgery for people with all types of outer ear injuries, burns, and the like. The procedure can improve the appearance of the ear without the risk of damaging a person’s hearing.

The most common reason why people go for this cosmetic surgery is prominent ears. A big number of patients suffers from overdevelopment or underdevelopment of cartilage, which leads to the ears sticking out too far from the head. While some learn to live with it, others look for ways to correct this peculiarity.

Overall, if you aren’t satisfied with the ways your ears look, you can consider otoplasty.


What Are The Risks Of Otoplasty?

Otoplasty is a surgery, so it comes with general surgery risks, such as bleeding and scarring. Otoplasty scars are permanent. However, professional surgeons do their best to hide the scars behind the patient’s ears.

Other risks and complications are:

  • Infection – infection of cartridge or skin is a complication, which may put the success of the procedure at risk.
  • Blood clots – blood clot formation is infrequent and may disappear naturally with time or be removed by a surgeon.
  • Overcorrection – when an inexperienced surgeon performs the procedure, the results may not appear natural. The ear may be too close to the head or look asymmetrical related to the other ear.
  • Skin sensation problems – Right after the procedure, the skin sensation in the ear area may be numbed. Such a problem usually goes away after a while. In rare cases, it’s permanent.

How To Prepare For The Procedure?

It’s important to have a long and extensive consultation with the plastic surgeon before deciding on a procedure. A patient should be 100% sure of the necessity of the surgery. In many cases, overdevelopment and underdevelopment of cartridge are not a problem. The problem is in the person’s perspective.

  • Follow the advice – You need to make your full medical history available to the surgeon in order to make the right decision about the way procedure goes. After the date of the surgery is set, it’s highly important to follow the surgeon’s advice about preparations.
  • Take medication – You’ll probably need to take antibiotics a few hours before the procedure and continue taking them after the surgery.
  • Stop taking other medication – Several days before the procedure, a surgeon will most likely ask you to stop taking some medications, which can lead to bleeding or bruising, such as ibuprofen and blood thinners. If you are taking pain medication, switch to acetaminophen after discussing it with the doctor.
  • Stop smoking – You need to stop taking nicotine two weeks before the surgery and, preferably, ten days after it. Nicotine interferes with proper blood circulation and may negatively affect the surgery while putting you at a higher risk of complications.
  • Adopt a positive attitude- The patient’s attitude is highly important for the outcome of the surgery. The more positive you feel about the procedure, the better it’s likely to go.

What Happens During The Procedure?

Depending on which surgeon you choose, the procedure may be done in a hospital or on an outpatient basis in the cosmetic surgery clinic.

Before the procedure, you’ll be administered anesthesia. You’ll discuss the anesthesia with your surgeon. It can be either local or general.

During the procedure, the surgeon makes several incisions on the back and/or the inner creases of your ear. Then the extra cartilage and skin are removed if needed. After that, the rest is folded and shaped the desired way.

On average, the procedure takes about two hours.


What Do I Do After The Procedure?

After the surgery:

  • You’ll need to wear bandages for several days.
  • You will likely feel some pain and discomfort so a doctor may prescribe pain relief meds.
  • You’ll need to sleep on your back or stomach in order to avoid putting pressure on the ears.
  • After the bandages are removed, your ears will appear large and swollen for several days.


Otoplasty is mostly an aesthetic cosmetic surgery, which is chosen by people who want to improve their appearance and self-esteem. It’s important to discuss all the surgery details with the doctor and follow his or her recommendations to achieve the desired effect and avoid complications.


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