What to Expect from Cosmetic Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)

ear surgeryEar surgery, (otoplasty is the medical term)  is a cosmetic procedure to improve the appearance of the ears. Otoplasty does not affect hearing, and provides significant psychological benefits to anyone who is teased about ear size and/or shape, has had a serious ear injury, or simply wants to improve his or her appearance. Ear surgery is most often performed to set unusually protruding ears closer to the head (ear pinning) or to reduce the size of abnormally large ears.

Candidates for Ear Surgery

People of any age who feel self-conscious about their ears may be good candidates for otoplasty, although it is typically performed on children between 5 and 14 years old. Ears are almost fully developed by the of age 5, so early surgery can help create self-confidence when a child begins going to school. Not everyone is a candidate for otoplasty; a patient must be in good general health, and have realistic expectations of what it can do.


Otoplasty generally takes 2 -3 hours, and is performed on an outpatient basis. The type of anesthesia used typically depends on the age of the patient, with general anesthesia recommended for very young patients, and local anesthesia with or without a sedative is recommended for older children and adults.

Incisions are placed in the natural folds and creases of the ear to reduce visibility. After the procedure is complete, bandages will be applied to assist in he healing process and to aid the reshaped cartilage from reverting to its original form. Bandages are not to be removed until Dr. Frank has instructed the patient to do so, and healing is complete.


Although the ears may ache or throb for a few days, patients usually feel normal within hours of the surgery’s completion. Medication is prescribed to help alleviate any discomfort.  Otoplasty patients should avoid sleeping on their sides for the first 2 weeks after surgery, and are instructed to wear a toque/headband for the first month following the procedure.  About 1 week following otoplasty, most patients are able to return to their normal routines.

Associated Risks

Complications of otoplasty are rare and usually minor. Some patients report a change in skin sensation, which generally resolves itself overtime. There is a small possibility that a patient may be unsatisfied with their results following surgery – Dr. Frank will do everything in his power to make his patients happy and is very reasonable when it comes to the need for revisions.   Patients should not expect ears to be completely symmetrical because this does not occur naturally. Slight variances between the appearance of ears is expected.

Otoplasty in Calgary

If you are interested in otoplasty, or would like to learn more about any of the other cosmetic surgery procedures we offer, contact Dr. Frank today. We can be reached at (403) 245-1228. We look forward to hearing from you!


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