Otoplasty (ear surgery) is typically performed on children and teens to improve congenital deformities to the appearance and shape of the ear. In adults, otoplasty is also recommended for earlobe repair after ear “gauging” (stretching of the earlobe) or other injuries to the ear. Otoplasty is complex plastic surgery. There are many parts to the ear that may need to be evaluated to determine what the nature of the anatomical problem to be corrected. Otoplasty may require simply “pinning” protruding ears back, reducing or reshaping cartilage, or even adding cartilage grafts in some cases. The goal of otoplasty is to ensure that the ear appears naturally proportionate and contoured and sits neatly and naturally against the side of the head without evidence of surgery so that the ears appear normal from the front, rear, and side perspectives.
The timing of an otoplasty procedure depends on the severity of the ear deformity. In children with extremely prominent “sticking out” ears, 4-years old and upwards is an ideal age for surgery.
Non-surgical otoplasty is possible for newborn babies using the EarWell™ Infant Ear Correction System. If applied in the first few weeks of life, the EarWellTM system can correct over 90% of all ear deformities. The EarWellTM works by molding deformed ears back to an aesthetically- pleasing shape without surgery, but it is imperative that the system is applied very early in life, ideally on babies less than three weeks of age.
Otoplasty is a low-risk surgery. For adults, it is generally performed as an outpatient procedure under a local anesthetic with some sedation. If your child is having ear surgery, a general anesthetic will be used, and the procedure will be performed in an operating room.