This patient underwent otoplasty to reshape the protruding ears and make them less prominent.View Patient Details
Otoplasty (Ear Surgery)
What is Otoplasty?
Otoplasty is ear surgery, sometimes referred to as 'ear pinning', and is often performed to change the shape and/or position of the ears. It can be performed on one ear or both ears. In most cases, ear cartilage is reduced so that the ears appear closer to the head.
Ear surgery can create a better balance and proportion while improving the shape or appearance of the ears, often having a profound effect on the appearance, and self-esteem, of someone with even minor concerns.
What problems does Otoplasty address?
I keep my hair long to hide my ears
Ear surgery is often performed to correct prominent or 'floppy' ears. The Otoplasty procedure pins the ears back so that they have a better natural proportion to the head. Prominent ears are due to an unusually large cartilage bowl, common in people of Irish or Scottish heritage, while "lop" ears are due to a ewakness in the cartilage of the upper ear lobe where the upper part flops down instead of lying near the head.
Some patients have both a large cartilage bowl as well as weakness of the cartilage. Treatment involves the surgical repair of the deformed cartilage.
Patients seeking otoplasty often complain of:
- protruding ears
- floppy ears
- overly large ears
- folding or flapping of the upper helical rim
How is Otoplasty performed?
Otoplasty procedures are usually out-patient and can be performed under General Anesthesia or IV sedation. We prefer the use of IV sedation as there is less post operative nausea compared to the use of General Anesthesia. With either anesthesia type, you should make sure your anesthesia is administered by a Board Certified Anesthesiologist, in a fully accredited Surgery Center. Be sure to ask your surgeon about these credentials!
Reshaping the cartilage behind the ears
To correct the protruding ears, an incision is usually made in the cartilage behind the ears. Cartilage is scored and reshaped to bring the ears in better proportion. Incisions are carefully hidden in the crease behind the ears. Once the ears have healed, the scar will fade and eventually be barely detectable. The incision is closed with dissolvable sutures. In some circumstances an incision is made in the front of the ear, but great care is take to place incisions in ear folds so that the scar is not noticeable.
Length of surgery
The procedure takes approximately 3-4 hours and you will go to the recovery room for a short period of time. The surgeon will wrap your head with a fluffy bandage to protect the ears. Once your vital signs are stable, you will be discharged to go home.
What is the right age for an Otoplasty procedure?
While otoplasty surgery can be performed on both children and adults, the surgery should be delayed until at least the age of 6 years, when the ear is more developed.
What are the Pre-Operative requirements?
In my surgery center, we require patients to get a medical clearance two weeks prior to surgery. An H&P (history and physical) and a CBC blood test are the minimum requirements if you are a healthy adult. Patients should refrain from smoking and taking any aspirin products for 2 weeks prior to surgery.
On the evening before surgery, you may not eat or drink anything after midnight.
What is Otoplasty Post-Op recovery like?
Immediately following surgery, you'll be asked to keep your head elevated to help reduce swelling and to aid in healing. You should sleep on your back with several pillows to ensure that your head is elevated. You should keep your head cool, and avoid heat when possible. You will have some soreness, aching, and throbbing for the first few days after surgery. To relieve these symptoms, pain pills are given to make you more comfortable. Some patients also report numbness, but this will usually resolve completely.
Hair washing is not permitted during the first week post op, and it is important that you leave the bandage in place so that the healing can continue uninterrupted. Your bandage is removed in the office after 7 days. Surgical results can be immediately seen at this point!
The last part of the recovery involves wearing a tennis sweatband for an additional two weeks after having your bandage removed. You should be able to resume all activities, including sports activities, after 6 weeks.
What are the risks and possible complications?
Like any surgical procedure, the otoplasty comes with possible risks and complications that include, but are not limited to:
- inadequate correction
- unfavorable scarring
- prolonged numbness
How much does an Otoplasty cost?
A 2015 survey by the ASPS estimated that the cost of Otoplasty is $2965. However, that cost only includes the surgeon's fee! Other costs include anesthesia and Operating Room fee . The Total Cost of Otoplasty to include all components at our Surgery Center is approximately $5800. Total cost includes:
- Surgeon fee (Board Certified Plastic Surgeon)
- OR fee (AAAASF accredited surgery center)
- Board Certified Anesthesiologist fee
- All office follow-up visits
If you are comparing costs, be sure to find out if your surgeon and anesthesiologist are Board Certified, in addition to confirming that the surgical facility is a AAAASF accredited out-patient surgery center.
Can I finance my Otoplasty surgery?
Yes, your ear surgery can be 100% financed with convenient monthly payments. Please call the office at 410-494-8100 to get more information or click the contact us button below.
Before and After Otoplasty Photos*
See our gallery of Before and After Otoplasty photos, all performed by Dr. Ricardo Rodriguez, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon with over 20 years experience. Please note that all of these patients have given their written consent to use the photos at our web site. We are very grateful to our patients for participating in patient education!
Having your Otoplasty in Baltimore, Maryland
I have extensive otoplasty experience and many of our patients come from outside of the Baltimore area. Our office and surgery center is only 30 miles from BWI airport and we are only 20 minutes from the downtown Amtrak train station.
Give us a call at +1-410-494-8100 or Contact Us online to set up a consult. We're happy to schedule a time for you to visit our offices or participate in a virtual consultation to help you decide if otoplasty is right for you.
Updated March 20, 2017
Ricardo L Rodriguez M.D.
Board Certified Plastic Surgery
*Note: Patients depicted in photos and videos have provided written consent to display their photos online. Every patient is unique, and surgical results may vary. Please contact us if you have any questions.