A Step-by-Step Understanding of the Otoplasty Procedure

By Dr. Christopher Cote and Dr. Nicolette Picerno on July 8, 2024 under Otoplasty

A Step-by-Step Understanding of the Otoplasty Procedure

Are you bothered by the shape, position, or proportions of your ears? If so, you may be able to benefit from a fairly common procedure known as otoplasty. At FacesFirst, our board-certified facial plastic surgeons can create a personalized otoplasty treatment plan to help you look and feel your best.

What is Otoplasty?

Otoplasty, also known as ear pinning, is a cosmetic surgical procedure that addresses a variety of aesthetic concerns regarding the ears. This procedure is ideal for correcting overly protruding ears, large ears, or misshapen ears, which can negatively affect both children and adults.

This procedure can be performed on children five years or older, as this is around the time their ears are fully developed. Adults who may undergo this procedure are often concerned with protruding ears, misshapen ears, small, constricted ears, ears with missing cartilage, and more. A consultation with one of our board-certified facial plastic surgeons is the best way to look for an evaluation of your ears to determine if otoplasty is right for you.

How to Prepare for Otoplasty

Patients may be asked to take steps prior to otoplasty surgery to ensure optimal outcomes. These may include stopping medications that may increase bleeding, stopping smoking, and taking a shower to ensure that their hair and area around the ear are clean prior to surgery. Your surgeon will discuss preparation in more detail during a pre-op appointment to ensure you are physically and mentally prepared.

What to Expect During the Otoplasty Procedure

The otoplasty procedure is highly individualized depending on the patient’s aesthetic goals. Otoplasty can be performed using local, IV sedation or general anesthesia. Generally, your surgeon will create a marking behind the ear to guide them during the procedure. Incisions will be made, and ear cartilage reshaped through a combination of removing or reshaping the cartilage and placing long-lasting or permanent sutures to reshape the ear. Incisions are closed, and a dressing will be placed around the hand.  Generally, otoplasty takes about 1.5-2 hours to complete.

What to Expect Following an Otoplasty

Following otoplasty, immediate improvements may be noticeable. However, swelling and bruising will occur, which may obscure full results. Mild soreness may occur for 1-2 days.

For the first 2-4 days, patients will need to wear a padded wrap around their heads to protect their ears. This wrap can be removed during the first follow-up visit when your surgeon will check your ears to ensure proper healing progress. It is important to keep the ears clean during healing to avoid infection. Most people can return to work or school within a few days. However, be sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding activity restrictions.

After about three months, the ears will be fully healed, and you can enjoy their new and permanent shape. Otoplasty is a highly satisfying procedure, as immediate improvement can be enjoyed.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are considering otoplasty or would like to learn more about the procedures we offer, please get in touch with FacesFirst in Lone Tree and Denver, CO, today. Your first step toward treatment will be to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified facial plastic surgeons, Dr. Picerno or Dr. Cote.