Otoplasty (Ear Reshaping)

Otoplasty (Ear Reshaping)


Otoplasty is a procedure that improves the contour and appearance of the outer ear in children or adults. Many patients who undergo otoplasty wish to “pin back” protruding ears or create more shape to the ears. The goal of otoplasty is to improve the appearance of the ears, creating  balance and harmony with the head. This relatively simple procedure can effectively change the entire presentation of the face, elevate one’s self-esteem and confidence.

Am I a good candidate?

You are a good candidate  for otoplasty if you:

  • are over 5 years old and healthy
  • have protruding ears and wish to pin them back
  • have misshapen ears
  • have asymmetry and wish to create more balance between the ears
  • have healthy and realistic expectations

What happens during the initial consultation?

During your initial consultation, Dr. Chung will listen to your wishes and desires for improvement. She will then take pictures along with detailed measurements of your ears and their relationship to the head. She will provide a detailed recommendation for how to safely and effectively achieve your goals.  All aspects surrounding surgery will be discussed, such as type of anesthesia, recovery, and expected results. Double-board-certified by both the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and the American Board of Otolaryngology, Dr. Chung has extensive expertise and experience with otoplasty.

What happens during the otoplasty procedure?

For teenagers and adults, otoplasty is usually performed in the office under local anesthesia. For children under 12 years old, the procedure is best performed with light sedation or general anesthesia as an outpatient. Dr. Chung employs the latest and most advanced techniques for otoplasty, including internal sutures and cartilage shaping methods. In summary, the otoplasty incorporates:

  • hidden incisions within creases behind the ear
  • permanent, special sutures used to contour, reshape, and reposition the ear
  • possible removal of a small piece of cartilage to create a more pleasing appearance
  • a head wrap dressing to protect the ears for 2-3 days

What is the recovery like?

You may have some swelling and bruising after the procedure, and any mild discomfort is usually well controlled with Tylenol or mild pain medications. After the head wrap dressing is removed in 2-3 days, you will be asked to wear a head band dressing at night for approximately 2 weeks to help keep your ears in place. Most of the sutures behind the ear will dissolve on their own, but some may need to be removed 1 week after surgery.  Most patients return to work and social activities a few days after surgery, but contact sports and the use of helmets should be avoided for at least a month.

What will I look like?

The majority of the swelling and bruising will be gone in 1 -2 weeks, and there will be continued improvement for several months. There may be slightly decreased sensation of the ears which will improve over a few months.  Ultimately, the incisions behind the ear will be barely visible. Your ears will no longer protrude , but rather will adopt a more normal, less conspicuous position next to your head.  With otoplasty, you will see how an improved look inspires an improved outlook.


“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart”

Judy Garland