Ears that protrude too far can be a source self-consciousness to many people. In our New York and New Jersey offices, otoplasty can be performed in patients from the age of 6 up through adulthood. At age 6, the ear has reached most of its adult size, so undergoing surgery at this age will not cause any problems with the ears later in life. Many adults have otoplasty done because they have never liked their ears and now are finally ready to improve them.
The surgical correction utilizes a hidden incision behind the ear to reposition the ears closer to the head. The repositioning may involve creating a bend in the upper ear called the antihelix, which sometimes doesn’t form fully during development. Also, surgical correction of the “bowl” area of the ear, or concha, can reduce significant cupping of the ear and create a more natural ear that is closer to the head. The earlobe may be changed so it doesn’t stick out as much. The surgery is easy to go through, usually requiring IV sedation and lasting about one and a half hours. The pain is minimal, and recovery takes about a week.
Recovery after otoplasty is fairly quick. The dressing is removed the next day and an athletic headband is worn for one week all day and night. It can be removed for a short time every day for cleaning. After the first week, it should be worn at night for the next month. The pain is usually minimal, and some swelling and bruising is normal, but most of it resolves in one week, when most patients return to normal activity.