Your Guide to Ear Surgery

Ear Surgery

What is ear surgery?

Ear surgery, also known as otoplasty, is a surgical procedure designed to improve the aesthetic appearance of the ears. Most commonly this is done to correct protruding or prominent ears, but otoplasty may be used to alter size, proportion or shape of the ears to produce a balanced, proportionate appearance of the entire face.

Is ear surgery for me?

Ear surgery is an excellent choice for those who are bothered by the shape, size or prominence of their ears. These abnormalities may be present at birth or they may be acquired as a result of trauma or other injury to the ear. Ear surgery, or otoplasty may be used to correct:

  • prominent or protruding ears
  • overly large ears
  • ear deformities resulting from injury

Whatever your individual concerns, if you are in good health and have realistic expectations, eyelid surgery may be an excellent choice for you. Call Allure Plastics today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Walker and see how ear surgery can improve the appearance of your ears and restore balance to your face.

Who is not a candidate for ear surgery?

While ear surgery is an excellent procedure for healthy individuals with appropriate expectations, there are some conditions that can increase your potential for a less-than-desirable outcome. These include:

  • age younger than 5 years
  • inability to follow postoperative instructions
  • bleeding or clotting disorders
  • anticoagulation or antiplatelet medications such as Coumadin, Plavix or aspirin
  • poorly controlled blood pressure
  • conditions that result in poor wound healing capability
  • smoking
  • unrealistic expectations

Can you tell me more about the ear surgery procedure?

Ear surgery is performed under general anesthesia and generally takes between 1 and 2 hours. Those undergoing the procedure will go home on the same day as surgery.

Following anesthesia, a skin incision will be made on the back of the ear.  A small portion of skin may be completely removed. 

Multiple techniques are available to shape the ear. Scoring of the cartilage or suturing of the cartilage may be used to shape the ear and reduce the prominence of the ear. 

Once the ear cartilage is shaped appropriately, the skin incisions will be closed using absorbable sutures so that no sutures will require removal at follow up appointments. 

A dressing will be applied that will need to be left in place until the follow up appointment.    

What should I expect in the recovery period following ear surgery?

Ear surgery is well tolerated by the vast majority of patients, and those undergoing ear surgery will go home the same day. Pain is mild to moderate and is well controlled by oral medications.

Prescriptions will include oral medications for pain and nausea (which is a common occurrence after anesthesia), and will include an antibiotic.

Some mild swelling and bruising is expected. You will need to avoid sleeping in a position that puts pressure on your ears. Dressings placed at the time of surgery will need to stay in place until your follow up appointment and should not be removed at home. 

Strenuous activity and heavy lifting should be avoided for the first few weeks following ear surgery. 

What results are expected from ear surgery?*

Following ear surgery, the ears will be less prominent and protruding, and the ears will have an appearance that is more proportional to your face.  Results are immediate and will first be seen by you following the removal of your dressings at your postoperative appointment.

Scars from eyelid surgery are generally hidden on the back of the ear, where it is inconspicuous. Any other incisions are placed in the natural creases of the ear to make them less visible.

*Individual results may vary

Is ear surgery safe?

Ear surgery is a common procedure performed by plastic surgeons. During your consultation, Dr. Walker will perform a detailed history and physical exam. We will identify factors that may cause your risk of surgery to be increased, and together will formulate an operative plan to improve the aesthetic appearance of your ears. While not common, risks and potential complications include the following:

  • skin breakdown or delayed wound healing
  • bleeding or hematoma formation
  • cauliflower ear deformity
  • infection
  • unfavorable scarring
  • anesthesia risks
  • asymmetry
  • need for further surgery

During the preoperative consultation, these potential risks will be discussed with you in detail. Should you have any questions or concerns, they will be addressed. Dr. Walker is dedicated to the education of his patients, and he will help you understand the risks, benefits and potential alternatives of ear surgery. 

Will insurance cover my ear surgery?

Ear surgery, or otoplasty, is generally seen as a cosmetic procedure and is therefore not covered by insurance. Please check with your carrier to inquire about potential coverage of ear surgery.

Dr. Walker’s take on ear surgery:

Those with prominent ears often have been unhappy with the appearance of their ears since early childhood. Some have had unsuccessful attempts at correction, while others may have never had ear surgery as an option but wish to do so now. Whatever the cause, ear surgery (otoplasty) is a very desirable option for those who are unhappy with the appearance of their ears.

Try drawing an ear and you will see how complex the anatomy is, and correcting ear deformities can be challenging. However, with the proper training and technique, predictable results can be achieved. Deciding to undergo ear surgery is a very personal choice, and choosing the right plastic surgeon is paramount. 

Through attention to detail in your physical exam and in-depth conversation about your concerns, we will develop a treatment plan that is best for you. Call our office today to schedule your appointment. I look forward to meeting you and am looking forward to helping you achieve an ear shape and appearance that restores balance to your face. 


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real patient experiences*
at allure plastics

I can’t say enough wonderful things about Dr. Walker. He by far does superior work to anyone else I have ever used. As a woman in my 40s I wanted to look younger but natural. Dr. Walker did an excellent job helping me achieve the look I wanted. He is the best!!!!

– Tammy / Union, MS

*Individual results may vary person to person.