Facial Surgery

Prominent ears (setback otoplasty)

About prominent ear surgery

Surgery to setback prominent ears (otoplasty) is performed to alter the shape of the ear and place the ear closer to the scalp.

What does otoplasty surgery involve?

Otoplasty surgery encompasses a number of techniques that can be used to reshape the cartilage, excise excess cartilage and to fix the ear back. Permanent or dissolving sutures may be used.

Depending on the patient the operation can be performed as day surgery under general or local anaesthetic.

The age when the operation is performed is dependent upon patient preference, but by and large the surgery should not be performed until the cartilage skeleton of the ear is well developed.  This is usually about 6-7 years of age.

While extra care is taken by the surgeon for an ideal cosmetic outcome, there can be no absolute guarantee of symmetry or perfectly formed ears.

After surgery

After otoplasty, your ears will be covered in bandages for protection and support.

You'll likely feel some discomfort and itching. Take pain medication as recommended by your doctor. If you take pain medication and your discomfort increases, contact your doctor immediately.

To keep pressure off your ears, avoid sleeping on your side. Also try not to rub or place excessive force on the incisions. Consider wearing button-down shirts or shirts with loosefitting collars.

A few days after otoplasty, your doctor will remove your bandages. Your ears will likely be swollen and red. You'll need to wear a loose headband that covers your ears at night for two to six weeks. This will help keep you from pulling your ears forward when rolling over in bed.

Talk to your doctor about when — or if — your stitches will be removed. Some stitches dissolve on their own. Others must be removed in the doctor's office in the weeks after the procedure.

Ask your doctor when it's OK to resume daily activities, such as bathing and physical activity.