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John ​Harbison, M.D., Otlaryngologist & Facial Plastic Surgeon

Otoplasty is a minor surgical procedure that can be performed on children or adults to help with either protruding ears or congenitally malformed ears. A lot of patients carry with them a lifelong self-conscience behavior and a lot of pediatric patients carry either some long standing teasing or a lot of potential for teasing that can create some self-conscience attitudes during school and adolescence.

In a lot of cases it’s not just simply a aesthetic or a cosmetic improvement but a functional benefit as well as well as comfort, hair styles, and even as it might relate to hearing in some cases.

The surgery is a relatively minor procedure with a pretty short recovery period but it does merit attention to detail and an accurate diagnosis of what is going on. Usually involves a small incision behind the ear and then we use sutures or minor carving techniques to reshape the cartilage and the skin of the ear to give it a more normal appearance.

In a few cases we have to use tissue from the other ear to establish a normal and symmetric appearance between the ears.

Post surgically you can expect you or your child would have a dressing on for four to five days. They would experience some mild pain and some swelling and then the dressing would come off in about five days. We would remove the stiches a couple days after that. Then you just need to avoid contact sports or anything that might affect the healing of the ear for a couple weeks.

The impact of a procedure like this is always tough to measure but I find many patients get great satisfaction from it. It is a relatively common surgery and a common complaint. We do them quite frequently and certainly tailor each surgery to what each patient has going on and their post-operative desires.

​​Otoplasty is a surgery to restore or enhance the appearance or function of an ear or the ears. Dr. John Harbison, Otolaryngologist & Facial Plastic Surgeon with the Boys Town Ear, Nose & Throat Institute, explains the procedure and what to ​expect after the surgery. Ear pinning, or an ear tuck, is a common procedure for children and young adults with protruding or large ears. Otoplasty and ear reshaping can also help increase ear function and hearing or fix outer ear injuries.

Reasons to Consider Otoplasty:

  • Protruding ears
  • Misshapen ears
  • Post traumatic ear (cauliflower ear)
  • Excessive cartilage, ear deformities or lop ear
  • Ear abnormalities from birth defects or injuries

Otoplasty Procedure

  • Surgical repair in children is best done at 4-5 years old.  This is when the ear has grown close enough to its adult size.
  • Otoplasty can be done under general anesthesia in the operating room, or in an office setting depending on patient age, degree of deformity, and personal preferences.
  • Surgery is outpatient and involves close follow up to ensure an optimal healing process.

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