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Protruding ears are a common source of insecurity and poor self esteem. In children or adults, misshapen or overly projected ears may lead to daily dissatisfaction with one’s appearance. The normal ear is angled from the scalp to varying degrees. However, an overly projected ear can detract from an otherwise attractive face. In children, protruding ears can damage self confidence and may lead to bullying and teasing.

Plastic surgery of the ear, also known as an otoplasty, is a surgical option that improves the shape, position, or proportion of the ear. Otoplasty techniques can be used to improve congenital abnormalities or post-traumatic ear deformities.Often known as ear pinning, otoplasty can help to restore the normal angle of protruding ears. Minor corrections in projection and asymmetry can have a dramatic impact on one’s overall appearance.

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Candidates for Otoplasty Surgery

A child must be at least five-years-old and healthy to safely undergo ear surgery. At this age, ear growth and cartilage is generally mature enough to perform surgical correction with safe and lasting results. Parents often seek correction of their child’s ears prior to school to avoid the potential for a child’s embarrassment or ridicule. Otoplasty surgery is also common in teens and adults. One or both ears may require correction.

How is an Otoplasty Performed?


Correction of protruding is achieved using surgical techniques to create or increase the antihelical fold (just inside the rim of the ear). Often, cartilage of the conchal bowl requires surgical reduction. Conchal cartilage forms the convex region of the ear surrounding the ear canal. When this region is excessively enlarged, the ear may be pushed forward. Incisions for otoplasty are made on the posterior surface of the ear where the ear meets the scalp. Depending upon the ear, internal sutures may be required to restore the long-term remodeled shape. Particular attention is dedicated to the final angle of the overall ear and earlobe. Under-projection of the ear leads to an anatomically incorrect ear with a post-surgical appearance. Occasionally, the earlobe requires reduction to restore its balance and projection with the rest of the ear. Hearing is unaffected by otoplasty surgery.

What to Expect

Following recovery, evidence of surgery should be nearly invisible. Surgical incisions are carefully created within naturally-occurring skin creases. A post-surgical head band may be required in the week following surgery to ensure stability and longevity of results. Surgical results are immediate and permanent. Surgical scars are concealed behind the ear.


Modest discomfort following surgery is normal. The pain is easily managed with prescription pain medication. Surgical dressings are retained for three days following sutures. The sutures may require removal in 7-10 days.