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Ear Surgery (Cosmetic) - Otoplasty  

No set of ears are exactly alike, but some people find protruding ears to be unattractive or bothersome.  They can make children and adults self-conscious and the target of teasing. Fortunately, cosmetic ear surgery called otoplasty can reposition the ears closer to the head.  Otoplasty is a common procedure that is successfully completed on thousands of people each year.

The shape of the outer ear is supported by cartilage.  Cartilage is a dense flexible tissue.  Otoplasty is used to reshape or remove some of the cartilage to change the position of the ear.

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Otoplasty is frequently performed on children before they enter school to avoid taunts.  It is usually an outpatient procedure.  It can be performed at a cosmetic surgery facility, outpatient surgical center, or hospital.  Otoplasty can be performed with local anesthesia and sedation, or with general anesthesia.

During the procedure, your surgeon will make an incision at the back of your ear.  The cartilage may be folded or a piece of cartilage may be removed to allow the ear to be repositioned closer to the head.  Sutures are used to close the incision and the ear is heavily bandaged. 

You will receive pain medication.  The ear bandages are removed after several days and replaced with a lighter dressing that is worn for up to three weeks.  Most people are able to resume their regular activities in about a week.  You should avoid contact activities, such as certain sports, for a month or so.  Otoplasty may leave a small scar behind the ear, but most people are thrilled with the results.

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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.