Otoplasty – Meaning, Benefits, and what to expect

Otoplasty is the medical terminology for the surgical reshaping of the outer ear or “Pinna.”

Otoplasty can be done for various reasons, like correcting an irregularity or congenital anomaly or improving one’s appearance.

Why have an Otoplasty?

Although the pinna has a minor role in hearing, it can significantly impact one’s appearance. Having very prominent ears can sometimes cause embarrassment for some and lead to low self-esteem and a lack of confidence.

What is a suitable age for Otoplasty?

Although one can undergo an Otoplasty at any age, the ideal age to get one done is between 5-6 years however it can also be done at 18+ of age, when 90% of the ear growth is complete. A non-surgical procedure can also be undergone for newborns when they are two to three weeks old. This procedure is called ear molding or splinting.

What to expect during Otoplasty?

A Plastic surgeon typically does otoplasty, although sometimes it can be done by a pediatric surgeon or an ENT surgeon.

Depending on individual cases, the surgery can either involve removing some cartilage or applying permanent stitches to hold back the outer ear.

The procedure takes anywhere between 1-2 hours.

In most cases, the incision will leave a thin scar behind the ear, which fades away over time. A head garment will be expected to wear for 6-8 weeks post surgery.


Although recovery from surgeries varies for different people, the surgeon may keep the dressing over the ears for several days, checking intermittently for hematoma.

After removing the dressing, the person may wear a protective headband over the ears for some time. This protects the ears from accidentally being pulled, especially in sleep.

Some soreness, numbness and tingling sensation, and/or slight bruising are some of the after-effects of Otoplasty.

The person should be able to wash their hair two weeks after surgery, swim after 4-6 weeks, and participate in contact sports after 12 weeks of the surgery.

Possible Complications

Some complications to watch out for are:

  • Infection
  • Bruising or appearance of a clot within 1-2 days of surgery (also known as Hematoma)
  • Undesirable appearance
  • Prolonged Numbness lasting for several weeks after surgery.

Is it worth it?

Typically an Otoplasty can cost around £3,000, which can go a long way in improving the quality of life for someone.

Find out more about the procedure and treatment with a free no-obligation consultation at Manchester Private Hospital. To meet with one of our surgeons and receive free expert advice tailored to your needs, visit https://manchesterprivatehospital.uk.

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