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What is Otoplasty?


This site is primarily devoted to microtia. Otoplasty will be discussed briefly below but for a more detailed review of the topic, please visit Dr. Thorne’s other site, otoplasty.org.

What does "otoplasty" mean?

The term "otoplasty" literally means "reshaping or reforming ears." Most commonly the procedure is performed to correct prominent ears by setting them back closer to the head. Ears come in all shapes and sizes, however, and "otoplasty " may refer to correction of a number of different ear deformities including making excessively large ears smaller.

Who is a candidate for otoplasty?

The procedure can be performed on children (as young as 4 years of age) or adults of any age.

What is the best age in children?

In children with severely prominent ears, the procedure is done early in life between ages beginning at age 4 years. In children with more minor deformities, the family may wish to wait until the child can participate in the decision at approximately age 7-10.

What type of anesthesia is used?

In young children the procedure is performed under general anesthesia. In older children and in adults, the procedure is performed in the office under local anesthesia.

How long does the procedure take?

Approximately 45 minutes per ear.

Where is the procedure performed?

Either in an office suite or an outpatient surgery center.

What technique is used?

In most cases a incision is placed in the crease behind the ear. Sutures are used to correct the shape of the ear and change the position of the ear relative to the head. Sometimes a piece of cartilage is removed. In patients who desire reduction in the size of the ear, an incision is frequently placed on the front of the ear, just inside the rim, where the incision will not be visible.

Are there scars?

Any incision results in a scar but the incisions are placed so that they will be inconspicuous and hopefully almost invisible.

What is the post-operative care?

A bulky dressing is placed on the head for a few days. When the dressing is removed the ears will be somewhat swollen. A soft headband is worn loosely at night only to protect the ears. It is important not to wear a tight headband; it will not help the result and it may injure the ear. The patient can return to school or work in less than a week and full activity (including sports) in approximately 2 weeks.

Otoplasty and Ear Reconstruction Chapters


Otoplasty: Cover of the Grabb and Smith Textbook

Dr. Thorne is the Editor-in-Chief and the author of several chapters in Grabb and Smith's PLASTIC SURGERY, 7th Edition. Click on the image above to access the Otoplasty and Ear Reconstruction chapters.

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