What Type Of Otoplasty Do I Need?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I want to get my ears fixed. They stick out and I get ridiculed by how they look. While they don’t stick out as bad as some people I have seen on your plastic surgery website before and afters, they definitely are not normal looking. I want to get them fixed so I can be a whole person and not have to worry about hiding them with my hair. What seems to make them stick out is not so much the outer rim of the ear but the part closer to the hole. It is big and very stiff. What type of otoplasty do I need and how long and painful is the recovery?

A: On the surface, otoplasty surgery can seem all the same being done from an incision on the back of the ear. But how the ear cartilage is reshaped is done differently based on the cartilaginous anatomy of the ear. The two basic cartilage reshaping methods are creating a more prominent antihelical fold by suture placement and conchal size reduction by excision and suturing it to the mastoid fascia. Often a combination of manuevers are done to create the desired effect. Your protruding ears sound like a large and prominent concha is the major issue so conchal reduction and setback is needed.

Otoplasty surgery is not particularly painful but it does make the ears sore for a while. Recovery after otoplasty can be viewed as  matter of days or weeks depending upon how you define recovery. Returning to work and resuming all normal activities will occur in matter of days. To have most of the swelling gone and the ears feel completely normal again, think four to six weeks after surgery.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana