Ear reshaping, also known as Otoplasty, refers to a range of common cosmetic surgery procedures designed to correct the size and shape of the ear and earlobe.

Typical procedures include pinnaplasty (to pin back ears), ear reduction (to reduce the size of the ears) as well as the correction of a range of ear deformities either apparent at birth (easily corrected by moulding the ear as it grows, a technique invented by one of our Cadogan Surgeons) or acquired later in life through trauma, piercing, surgery or cancer.

Ear surgery can be used to treat many other ear deformities such as; reshaping cartilage ears that have an unnatural shape, reducing overly large ears and reducing large earlobes or earlobes that have been overstretched (by wearing earrings, or as a result of ‘ear stretching’, also known as gauging).

You are also able to have otoplasty to increase the size of a very small ear, or even rebuild new ears if you were born without an ear or earlobe. It’s even possible to reduce the formation of wrinkles or large creases found on ears, that could, in turn, increase your self-confidence.

Many people who dislike the shape or size of their ears develop habits to mask the problem (e.g. wearing their hair long, wearing baseball hats or headbands to cover their ears, etc.), often being unaware of the quick, safe and effective solutions provided by surgery.

Otoplasty surgery can be performed on children as young as age 6, as their ears may still be growing and developing. Otoplasty is a safe and effective surgery that can improve the function and appearance of the ear, as well as improving the patients’ self-image.

An ear reshaping surgery will be performed by one of our plastic surgeons, usually under anaesthetic, and only involves minor pain in the 24-72 hours following the procedure. The surgery is complete in 1-2 hours and you will be allowed home immediately following the surgery.

The typical otoplasty procedure generally involves the surgeon making an incision hidden behind the ear, where the ear meets the head in its natural fold, therefore exposing the cartilage. The surgeon will score and stich the cartilage to form the desired shape. The completed result is a more attractive ear.

The recovery time for this type of surgery is generally quick. You can expect to be back to your regular daily routine within 1-2 weeks following the procedure, and able to go swimming after just 4 weeks, or play contact sports after 12 weeks. There are very few side effects involved with ear reshaping surgery, and it’s very common to have a small scar behind the ear, or slight bruising and tenderness that will fade in time.

For anyone unhappy with the shape or size of their ears, ear reshaping surgery may provide an effective solution, offering both physical benefits, and in many cases, psychological benefits and improving your confidence levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

We regard the healing cartilage like a healing bone and need to splint the ear in its new position as it heals. A week is long enough, but if you do not relish the idea of wearing a turban-like bandage, then headbands are adequate. If the surgery does not involve the cartilage, then a head bandage is not a requirement and the stitches can be masked with simple tape.

Ear surgery is mostly an outpatient procedure under local anaesthetic, but, if there is a general anaesthetic, then it becomes a day case, going home an hour or two after completion of the procedure.

Bleeding and bruising is the most common risk and there is always some swelling. The purpose of the head bandage is to reduce this risk and speed healing. The scars from the setting back of prominent ears (‘bat ears’) are behind the ear, but on occasions, these scars, in a susceptible person, can become hypertrophic, that is raised and pink, gradually resolving over some months, or even keloid with scars that continue to grow to the point where they may become visible. We can mitigate this with the Cadogan Clinic scar treatment.

Infection and necrosis, (loss of tissue) is unusual and would be treated early.

Asymmetry, where the ears are not exactly the same, is actually quite common, because the ears are often not comparable in the first place. Fortunately, it is quite difficult to see both ears at the same time to make this comparison.

An ear reshaping surgery (also known as otoplasty) for an older child, age 6 and over, or an adult, can be performed by one of our plastic surgeons under local anaesthetic.

This minor surgery usually involves making a single incision behind the ear, exposing the cartilage. The cartilage is scored and stitched to produce the desired position and shape.

After the first 24-72 hours, most of the initial swelling from the ear reshaping surgery will begin to dissipate.

Between 72 hours and a week, many patients will feel comfortable enough to return to work depending on their hairstyle and tolerance of the swelling regarding both social situations and responsibilities involved at work.

After 3 months the swelling should have completely subsided, and all that remains are slightly pink scars where the incisions were made. The scars are very small on the back of the ear and can be settled faster with the use of scar optimizing gels. 

Most patients only have minor pain and discomfort during the days following the ear reshaping surgery, this can be controlled with over the counter medications such as paracetamol and anti-inflammatory tablets.

Ears can be tender for 1-2 weeks following the initial surgery if the patient bumps their ear. However, by this time most patients are pain-free.

Ear Reshaping (Otoplasty) Results

Click here to view our gallery of before and after and Ear Reshaping (Otoplasty)

What to expect

Free Consultation with a Patient Advisor

We offer a free, no-obligation 30-60 minute consultation with one of our Patient Advisors. They will work with you to understand your objectives and the results you want to achieve, talk you through the procedure and answer any questions you may have. If you decide that you would like to proceed to the next step and see a surgeon, your Patient Advisor will be happy to arrange this for you. At this point, you will be required to pay a consultation fee. 

Surgical Consultation

The next step is for you to meet your chosen surgeon at the Cadogan Clinic. Your surgeon will use this time to make a comprehensive medical assessment of you, your condition, and your expectations before making a recommendation and personalised treatment plan for you. You will then discuss the outcomes you can expect to see and ask any questions.

The Procedure

On the day of your procedure you will be welcomed at the Cadogan Clinic by your Patient Advisor and dedicated nursing staff. Following a brief medical check, you will meet with both your surgeon and anaesthetist to run through the details of your procedure one final time and answer any last questions you may have.  

Recovery

After the procedure, you will recover in the capable hands of our aftercare team. As we are a day-case facility you can expect your recovery to be complete within 2 to 3 hours. If your surgeon is happy with your results, you will be able to be discharged from the Clinic the very same day. In some cases, patients may wish to stay locally in our exclusive partner hotel the day before or after your procedure in order to be close to their surgeon. Talk to us about these options if this is for you. 

After Care & Support

Our care and support continues in the days and weeks following your procedure with our complimentary aftercare programme. This comprised of a series of appointments made with your surgeon and nursing team to monitor your progress and recovery. They will also introduce you to several scar minimization techniques and bespoke products to aid your progress. Our team are also on call to answer any questions you have around your surgery at any time you are concerned.

BOOK NOW

To book a consultation with a Ear Reshaping (Otoplasty) specialist, please complete the form below.

I have read and understand Cadogan Clinic's Privacy Notice

From time to time we may wish to keep you up-to-date with information, offers and promotions we feel will be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive such information, please uncheck this box.

Submitting your request

Why Cadogan Clinic?

Book a Consultation