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Category: Otoplasty (Ear-Shaping Surgery)

Otoplasty 101

While facelifts, tummy tucks and nose surgery tend to dominate the discussion when it comes to plastic surgery, one common surgery that is regularly performed on both children and adults is otoplasty. Also known as “ear plastic surgery,” otoplasty is just that – a procedure that cosmetically alters or corrects the ears, either from congenital defects or from trauma suffered to the area.

Why Have it Done?

Think of ears somewhat as you’d think of someone’s teeth – they’re noticeable. And just as people may become self conscious about crooked teeth and their subsequent smile, many people may feel the same way about their ears. For children, ear irregularities that they’re born with can also affect their psyche and self-esteem if they’re the victim of teasing and bullying. This can psychologically devastate a child. The most common ear irregularity is prominotia – or protruding ears. This condition is extremely common, occurring in approximately 1 in 20 individuals.

Some additional otoplasty candidates involve those with the following congenital defects:

  • Cagot Ear, where the earlobe is absent.
  • Cat’s Ear, where the ear edges are folded forward.
  • Lop Ear, where the ear curves inward.
  • Scroll Ear, where the ear curves forward.
  • Macrotia, or abnormally large ears.
  • Microtia, or abnormally small ears.

Patients may also seek otoplasty because of trauma suffered to the ears, such as:

  • Cauliflower ear, where cartilage separates and fills with fluid, deforming the ear. This is common among wrestlers and athletes.
  • Skin cancer, where otoplasty can help reconstruct tissue in some cases.
  • Other trauma and injuries.

The Procedure

As previously mentioned, otoplasty can be successfully performed on both child and adult patients. For children, it’s ideal to perform the procedure between the ages of 5 and 6, when the ear is almost adult size. In some cases, it can be performed on child patients as young as 4 years old. Otoplasty is safe, effective, relatively pain-free and requires little downtime among patients.

For adult patients, Dr. Wise performs otoplasty procedures in an office-based surgical center. Children, on the other hand, typically undergo the procedure at an ambulatory surgical center. Otoplasty for both children and adults are outpatient procedures and typically take about 1.5 to 2 hours. The big difference between treating a child and an adult is that children are typically sedated with general anesthesia, while adults are generally operated on with or without sedation anesthesia, depending on patient preference.

As previously noted, otoplasty is a safe surgery, involving little to no risk. Results can be seen immediately after surgery.


One of the big benefits to otoplasty, versus other types of plastic surgeries, is the minimal downtime involved following the procedure. Complications are rare, and the procedure is an outpatient one. Following surgery, patients are sent home with a light dressing around the ear or ears, which they must leave on until the next day.

After the light dressing is removed the day after surgery, patients are advised to wear a headband of their choosing around the treated area for one week. A week after surgery, most children are permitted to return to school and most adults are permitted to return to work within a few days. Other normal activities can also be resumed, although in some cases patients are advised not to exercise for at least a few weeks.

While otoplasty may still present some discomfort for patients, it’s not a particularly painful operation. Temporary pain and swelling can often be managed with Tylenol or prescription medicine. Recovery from ear plastic surgery occurs in stages. For instance, when the initial dressing is removed, there may still be some swelling. In fact, it may take up to 3 weeks for swelling to completely go down. Complete healing can actually take up to one year, but final results can often be observed within 1-2 months after surgery. Following complete healing, there is minimal scarring and natural looking results.

Contact Dr. Wise

For more information about otoplasty, contact the offices of Dr. Wise today. Dr. Wise is double-board certified, experienced and specializes in plastic surgery of the face, head and neck. He teaches facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at the NYU School of Medicine. He has given multiple lectures on cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the ear, and has authored numerous book chapters and articles in medical journals on the same subject. Contact the Wise Center for Plastic Surgery in Wayne, New Jersey today, either through the website at www.drwise.com or by calling 973-305-1400.

Get Otoplasty This Summer New Jersey

Drawing of before and after ear surgeryProtruding or misshapen ears can cause many people to feel self-conscious about their appearance. While these emotional effects can affect men and women of varying ages, teenagers and children typically experience the most negative impact. Ridicule from a child’s peers can disrupt his or her self-esteem and outlook.

With the school year officially over, now is the perfect time for younger individuals to undergo cosmetic treatment and improve the appearance of their ears. At his New Jersey practice, Dr. Jeffrey Wise has helped countless numbers of children and teenagers correct imperfections and deformities of their ears through otoplasty surgery. Also known as ear-shaping surgery, this procedure is very effective for correcting any protrusion and enhancing the shape and size of the ears.

Otoplasty is desired to improve the following:

  • Overly large ears
  • Protruding ears
  • Misshapen ears
  • Asymmetrical ears

Although otoplasty can be performed on individuals as young as five or six years of age, it is becoming more common for adults to undergo this procedure.

How is otoplasty performed?

The method Dr. Wise uses during surgery depends on the individual patient’s present condition of his or her ears. Dr. Wise performs otoplasty at his fully accredited office-based surgical center in New Jersey for his adult patients and at an ambulatory surgical center for his young patients. During surgery, incisions are made behind the ears to trim, remove, and restructure cartilage. Since the incisions are strategically placed in the folds and creases of the ears, scarring will be nearly inconspicuous to the naked eye.

Dr. Wise has written numerous book chapters on ear-shaping surgery and teaches his techniques as a clinical professor of facial plastic and reconstructive surgery at the NYU School of Medicine.

The results of otoplasty can be dramatic and often life-changing. In fact, otoplasty performed on a child before primary school age often has a tremendously positive impact on the child’s self-esteem. Children and teenage patients no longer feel embarrassed like they had before surgery and can feel more confident about their appearance. In some cases, ear surgery can even reduce or eliminate the bullying that some younger patients experienced before the procedure.

If you are interested in otoplasty for you or your child with our double board-certified facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Wise, contact the Wise Center for Plastic Surgery today. Call (973) 305-1400 or conveniently fill out our online contact form. Dr. Wise and his well-trained staff look forward to meeting you soon.