Ear Surgery


Who are candidates for an


Ear surgery or otoplasty is usually performed to modify the shape, decrease the separation of the ear with the head or to decrease the size in the case of large ears. In most cases the intervention is performed in children between 4 and 14 years of age. Ear surgery is also possible in adults and there is usually no risk in older patients.

What do you need to know about otoplasty?

Both, ears that seem to get out of the head (hyperprojected) and those that are too big, can be corrected through this surgery. If you are thinking about an ear surgery for you or your child, this section will give you basic information about the procedure, when it can be helpfull, how it is done, and what results you can expect. However you will not be able to answer all your questions, as they depend on the particular conditions of each patient.

To plan your intervention

In the surgery planning, several aspects must be considered, such as ear shape, ear size, head size, and symmetry between one ear and the other. It is recommended that parents be aware of their children’s feelings about their separate ears, do not insist on performing surgery until you see that your child really wants to change his appearance regarding the shape and position of his ears. Children who are not comfortable with their ears are usually more cooperative during the intervention and are happier with the results. On your first visit to the surgeon, the patient’s situation will be evaluated and the most appropriate procedure to your particular case will be recommended. It will also give you specific instructions on how to prepare for this surgery.

How is the intervention?

Ear surgery is usually performed on an ambulatory basis. In some cases, your surgeon may recommend a night prior admission. If you have a small child, your surgeon may recommend general anesthesia, so that he or she will sleep through the entire procedure. For older children and adults, local anesthesia will be applyied in combination with a sedation, which is the most appropriate, staying awake and relaxed. Ear surgery is done in one or two hours, although in more complicated cases it may take longer. The technique to use will depend on the particular problem.

Step-by-step surgery

  1. Local anesthetic combined with a constrictor vessel is used to prevent bleeding.
  2. An incision is made in the back of the ear to expose the cartilage.
  3. The cartilage is then sculpted and folded until it is placed closer to the head. Sometimes the surgeon will remove a portion of the cartilage.
  4. Stitches are used to close the incisions and maintain the new shape.
    Other problems with the ears in addition to the “grab or prominent” ears are other problems that can be solved with surgery:

    • “Fallen” ears where the upper part appears to be bent forward or backward.
    • “Cut” ears that are very small; Or “shell” ears, which are those that have no internal or external folds.
    • Surgery can also improve ear lobes too large or too narrow, as well as those filled with folds and wrinkles.
    • Surgeons can even build new ears for those who lost them in accidents or who were born without them.

    Ask your surgeon about the effectiveness of the surgery in your particular case.


Both children and adults return to their normal lives only a few hours after surgery, although sometimes they may prefer to stay overnight in the hospital next to their child until all the effects of anesthesia have passed. Large bandages are not necessary and you can bathe and wash your hair with normality every 24-48 hours. Your ears may bite or ache for a few days, but these symptoms go away with medication. Stitches will be withdrawn within one week. Any activity in which the ears can be bent, should be avoided for about a month, most adults can return to work 5 days after surgery, children can return to school in 7 days or so if they are careful in games with other children.
The patient should wear a band of cloth for at least a week or two for most of the day and night to help mold and decrease the inflamation process on his ears.

Your new look

Most patients, both young and old, are very satisfied with the results of this surgery. But keep in mind that the goal is improvement, not perfection. Do not expect your ears to match perfectly (perfect symmetry does not exist, it is not natural), if you have discussed the procedure with your surgeon and are realistic about your expectations, you are most likely to be delighted with the results.

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