This page will give you information about an otoplasty. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.
What is an otoplasty?
An otoplasty (or pinnaplasty) is an operation to improve the appearance of your ears.
Is an otoplasty suitable for me?
You are most likely to benefit from an otoplasty if you are self-conscious about your ears, you are being teased or if you have unusually-shaped ears.
What are the benefits of surgery?
Your ears should have a better shape.
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
For adults, surgery is the only option to change the shape of your ears.
What does the operation involve?
The operation is usually performed under a local anaesthetic. The operation usually takes about an hour.
Your surgeon will make a cut at the back of your ear and peel off some skin from the cartilage. They will change the shape of the cartilage so your ear lies closer to your head. Your surgeon may need to use stitches to hold your ear in position and to create folds.
Your surgeon may also make a cut at the front of your ear and peel back your skin so they can lightly score the cartilage. This technique tends to make the cartilage bend towards the head.
Your surgeon will place a dressing on your head to give your ears support.
How can I prepare myself for the operation?
If you smoke, stopping smoking now may reduce your risk of developing complications and will improve your long-term health.
Try to maintain a healthy weight. You have a higher risk of developing complications if you are overweight.
Regular exercise should help to prepare you for the operation, help you to recover and improve your long-term health. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.
If you have not had the coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine, you may be at an increased risk of serious illness related to Covid-19 while you recover. Speak to your doctor or healthcare team if you would like to have the vaccine.
What complications can happen?
- allergic reaction to the equipment, materials or medication
- chest infection
- cosmetic problems
- cauliflower ear
Consequences of this procedure
- unsightly scarring of your skin
How soon will I recover?
You should be able to go home the same day or the day after. For a few weeks, while the swelling and bruising settles, rest and do not do strenuous exercise.
You can return to work after the head dressing has been removed.
Do not play sports for 6 weeks.
The results of an otoplasty are usually permanent.
An otoplasty is an operation to improve the appearance of your ears. The operation should be performed only if the aim is to improve your self-confidence and to make you more comfortable with your appearance. You should consider the options carefully and have realistic expectations about the results.
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Last reviewed: September 2022