Ear Surgery

Ear surgery or otoplasty is one of the few plastic surgery procedures commonly performed on children as well as adults. The procedure addresses concerns like protruding, overly large or lop ears. Dr Thomas performs ear surgery on patients of many ages, beginning at the age of five and all the way to adulthood.

Candidates for Ear Surgery

Ear surgery can address any or all of the following concerns:

  • Ears that are disproportionately large for the rest of the face
  • Ears that stick out significantly from the side of the head
  • Ears that fold over on the top, known as “lop ears”
  • Birth defects or anomalies involving the ears
  • Injury that has impacted the appearance of the ears

About the Procedure

Ear surgery may be performed under local or general anaesthesia. Incisions are placed behind the ear or in the ear folds, where visible scarring will be minimal. Procedures usually take around 1-2 hours to complete and patients are able to go home the same day as their surgery.

See Before and Afters

What to Expect After Surgery

Recovery from otoplasty, or ear surgery, can vary from person to person, but here is a general timeline to give you an idea of what to expect:

First 24-48 hours:

  • After surgery, you will have a dressing wrapped around your ears to protect them and help with swelling. This will be removed by your surgeon the day after your surgery.
  • You may experience some pain, swelling, and bruising. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication and may recommend icing your ears to help with swelling.

First week:

  • You will need to wear a headband or bandage around your ears for the first week following surgery to help keep them in place and protect them while they heal.
  • You should avoid any strenuous activity, including exercise, during this time to prevent any damage to the ears.
  • You may need to sleep with your head elevated to help with swelling.

First month:

  • You will need to continue wearing a headband or bandage around your ears at night for the first month to help maintain the position of the ears as they heal.
  • You should still avoid any strenuous activity during this time.
  • You may still experience some swelling, but it should continue to improve.

First six months:

  • You should continue to be careful with your ears during this time and avoid any activities that could put pressure on them.
  • The swelling should continue to decrease and the final results of your surgery should become more apparent.
  • You should continue to avoid sleeping on your side or rubbing your ears.

One year:

  • By this time, you should see the final results of your surgery.
  • You should still be careful with your ears and avoid any activities that could damage them.
  • You may need to continue wearing a headband or bandage around your ears at night for up to a year following surgery to help maintain the position of the ears as they heal.
  • It is important to follow your surgeon’s instructions carefully during the recovery process to ensure the best possible results from your otoplasty.

Potential Otoplasty Risks

Undergoing plastic surgery, such as ear surgery, is a personal decision that requires weighing the potential benefits against the risks and potential complications. It is important to understand these risks and complications before making a decision to have the procedure, which will be explained to you in detail and in writing in consent forms.

Some of the possible risks associated with ear surgery include:

  • Allergic reactions 
  • Anaesthesia risks
  • Asymmetry of the ears
  • Bleeding (hematoma) and blood clots
  • Changes in skin sensation around the ear area
  • Infection, which may require additional treatment
  • Persistent pain after the procedure
  • Poor wound healing
  • Possible revisional surgery
  • Skin contour irregularities
  • Swelling and skin discoloration
  • Unfavourable scarring around the ear area

Ear Surgery Results

Final results are apparent around one year, and are normally permanent as long as any other circumstances like trauma do not occur.

To ensure that the results of your ear surgery last as long as possible, follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully and attend follow-up appointments as directed. Additionally, a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise and avoiding smoking can help you maintain the results of your  ear surgery over time.

A Note on Results

The results of any medical treatment, aesthetic or otherwise, will affect patients differently based on various individual, genetic, environmental, diet, exercise and other factors. For that reason, you should always expect to see some variance between the results featured and the results you can achieve. What works for one person may not work for another, and each patient’s unique needs and expectations must be considered when determining the best course of action.

Therefore, it is essential to have a thorough consultation with a qualified and experienced medical professional who can help to determine the most appropriate treatment plan based on your specific circumstances. It is also important to understand that ear surgery is not a quick fix and requires patience and commitment to achieve the desired results.

Ear surgery can be an impactful procedure for patients of all ages. To find out if otoplasty is the right choice for you or your child, contact Dr Thomas at the Melbourne Institute of Plastic Surgery on 03 9034 7738.