Cosmetic Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)

Drawing of disproportionate ear

Also known as otoplasty, cosmetic ear surgery can improve the shape, position or proportion of the ear. It can correct a defect in the ear structure that is present at birth, such as overly large ears or protruding ears, and can also treat ear shape that becomes more noticeable with development or misshapen ears caused by injury.

Dr. Mussman performs ear surgery techniques that create a natural shape, while bringing balance and proportion to the ears and face. Correction of even minor deformities can improve appearance and boost self-esteem.

Am I candidate for cosmetic ear surgery (otoplasty)?

Cosmetic ear surgery is a highly individualized procedure, with the best results achieved through a thorough consultation with Dr. Mussman. Dr. Mussman will be able to recommend the best cosmetic ear surgery approach for you or your child’s needs.

Children who are good candidates for ear surgery include those who are:

  • Healthy, without a life-threatening illness or untreated chronic ear infections
  • Typically five years of age or older, when a child’s ear cartilage is stable enough for correction
  • Cooperative and follow instructions well
  • Able to communicate their feelings

Teenagers and adults who are good candidates for ear surgery include:

  • Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
  • Non-smokers
  • Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for ear surgery

How do I prepare for cosmetic ear surgery (otoplasty)?

Preparing for your cosmetic ear surgery procedure with Dr. Mussman may include:

  • Lab testing or a medical evaluation
  • Taking certain medications or adjusting your current medications
  • Stopping smoking well in advance of surgery
  • Avoiding aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements due to increased risk of bleeding

How is cosmetic ear surgery (otoplasty) performed?

Cosmetic ear surgery is performed through an incision in the back of the ear that Dr. Mussman can manipulate the cartilage until the ear can be bent back toward the head. Permanent stitches may be used to help keep the ear in place.  Dr. Mussman may include ear lobe reduction (in adults) or small cartilage resections as necessary.

Cosmetic ear surgery is usually an outpatient procedure with Dr. Mussman. General anesthesia is recommended for young children. For older children or adults, a local anesthesia with sedation may be used.

What are the different types of cosmetic ear surgery (otoplasty)?

Correction of protruding ears uses surgical techniques to create or increase the antihelical fold (just inside the rim of the ear) and to reduce enlarged conchal cartilage (the largest and deepest concavity of the external ear).

What results can I expect?

Cosmetic ear surgery can dramatically change your appearance. The results from ear surgery are immediate and usually long lasting. Follow-up with Dr. Mussman is important to maintaining your results.

What is involved in recovery?

Cosmetic ear surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. A dressing is placed over the ear for a week to help reduce the normal swelling that occurs in the ear for a few days following surgery, with pain being minimal and easily relieved with medication.

Most adults return to work about five days following ear surgery. Children can return to school after about a week, but they must limit their activities until they are fully healed from surgery.

Is cosmetic ear surgery (otoplasty) safe?

All surgical procedures carry some risk. Possible complications from cosmetic ear surgery include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scarring (minimal and generally not visible)
  • Numbness (temporary)
  • Asymmetry or mismatched ears (rare)

Is this procedure covered by health insurance?

Cosmetic ear surgery is not usually covered by health insurance unless it is being completed for reconstructive purposes. Dr. Mussman’s staff will help find a financial solution that works best for you.