Otoplasty is cosmetic ear surgery designed to move very large or prominent ears closer to the head. Franciscan Health plastic surgeons perform this procedure on children and adults.
Otoplasty, or cosmetic ear surgery, improves the shape, position or proportion of the ear while bringing balance and proportion to the ears and face. The surgery can also correct a defect in the ear structure present at birth that has become apparent with development or treat misshapen ears caused by injury. Correction of even minor deformities can have profound beneﬁts to appearance and self-esteem.
During the most common method of cosmetic ear surgery, a surgeon makes a cut in the back of the ear and removes the skin to see the ear cartilage. The cartilage is folded to reshape the ear, bringing it closer to the head. Sometimes the surgeon will cut the cartilage before folding it. Sometimes skin is removed from behind the ear. Stitches are used to close the wound. The results are visible almost immediately. This outpatient surgery is typically 2 to 3 hours long and is performed with a general or local anesthetic. Patients usually can go back to work or school in a week or two following the surgery depending on the level of activity.
The procedure can be done after a child reaches age 5 or 6, when ear growth is almost finished. However, if the ears are very disfigured (lop ears), the child should have surgery early to avoid possible emotional stress at school.