Otoplasty: What You Should Know About Ear Reshaping

Most of us have at least one feature that we feel a bit self-conscious about, and some of us may even have two or three! Many are easily covered by makeup or clothing, but if that feature is something as prominent as your ears, it can be harder to hide. If you are uncomfortable with the shape, positioning, or protrusion of your own ears, it can affect your self-esteem. Fortunately, there is a solution, and it may not be as complicated as you’d think.

Otoplasty is an ear reshaping procedure offered by the Plastic Surgery Group of Memphis that is used to correct ears that stick out further than you would like, or those that are shaped or positioned abnormally. It can have a significant positive impact on your appearance, and is safe enough that it can be performed on children as young as 5 years old. In fact, otoplasty is one of the safest facial surgical procedures available. It can provide dramatic results with no visible scarring, and has a short recovery period. Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from an ear reshaping procedure with the Plastic Surgery Group of Memphis.

What to expect from an ear reshaping procedure

At the Plastic Surgery Group of Memphis, we are able to achieve the following with an otoplasty:

  • “pin” back ears that noticeably protrude
  • reshape or resize ears
  • make one or both ears more proportionate in relation to the size and shape of the head and face
  • improve the symmetry of the ears
  • fix an external ear that’s in need of reconstruction or repair
  • repair torn earlobes or elongated piercing holes

Although it is a very straightforward surgery, otoplasty requires extreme attention to detail. For this reason, choosing a skilled and experienced cosmetic surgeon is important. All of our doctors are certified or board-eligible by The American Board of Plastic Surgery, meaning they have had at least 5-6 years of training devoted exclusively to plastic surgery. You can feel confident that our surgical team will provide personalized care and deliver exceptional results!

surgical tools

Who is a good candidate for an ear reshaping procedure?

You will generally be considered a good candidate for an otoplasty if:

  • your ears stick out significantly from your head
  • your ears are considerably larger than you’d like
  • you have misshapen ears due to injury or birth defects
  • you’re not satisfied with a previous ear surgery

What does an ear reshaping procedure include?

The otoplasty procedure involves making an incision in the natural crease behind your ear, where the ear meets the head, allowing the incision to be completely hidden. Every case is different and your surgeon’s next steps will depend on your specific needs. Anesthesia will be given so that the procedure is pain-free, and your surgeon will then decide where to place the sutures.

For example, if there is too much depth to the bowl of your ear and the whole ear protrudes from the scalp, sutures would likely be placed to pull the bowl back towards your scalp in several specific locations. If there is underdevelopment of the crease at the top of your ear, your surgeon will plan for the crease in a specific location by placing a series of precise sutures to create the ideal fold. If you experience both these issues, you may require a combination of the above steps.

Depending on your individual needs, your doctor will remove, reshape, or soften the amount of cartilage and skin to accomplish the desired effects. In some cases, the cartilage will be cropped and shaped into a more natural-looking and aesthetically pleasing form. The cartilage is then secured with permanent sutures, which are hidden behind the ear in order to keep the new position in place. The results of an ear reshaping procedure are planned to be permanent.

Recovering from an ear reshaping procedure

The primary goal during your recovery period is to support your ears so the cartilage can strengthen. Your surgeon will place a soft bandage and head wrap over your ears and then see you for follow up in the clinic. If healing is occurring as expected, they’ll place a smaller dressing that will be worn for about a week, at which point the sutures will be removed. You may be instructed to wear a softer dressing at night for an additional week.

Recovering from an otoplasty is relatively easy and takes about two weeks. The natural folds and swelling should resolve over 10-14 days. While you can return to work within a week or two, you should avoid any strenuous activity for at least two weeks, and should not participate in any contact sports for 2-3 months in order to prevent injury to the healing cartilage. You should also avoid swimming for about two weeks, and refrain from manipulating or tugging on your ears for at least six weeks.

Unlike many other plastic surgeries, you will be able to see your otoplasty results immediately after your dressings are removed. Our surgeons will take special care to hide scarring, so it should not be visible. The scar will generally be behind the newly positioned ear, or in the natural creases of your ear.

girl pointing at her ear

Exploring ear reshaping in Memphis

If you have issues with your ears and have considered otoplasty, we invite you to schedule a consultation with one of our plastic surgeons at the Plastic Surgery Group of Memphis. During your visit, we will listen to your concerns and discuss your options. You will also be able to view “before and after” photos of previous patients who have undergone an ear reshaping procedure with our practice, to see firsthand the natural-looking results we consistently achieve. Your doctor will then provide a customized treatment plan for you in order to achieve the best possible result for your specific case.

To get started, contact our office today by clicking here, or by calling 901.295.7184. We look forward to hearing from you!