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Otoplasty - ear surgery

What is it?

Ear correction surgery (pinnaplasty) is performed to correct prominent or protruding ears. This may be for one or both ears. The aim is to set the ears back against the head, to create a proportionate and symmetrical appearance.

Why have it?

Children and adults can become self-conscious about their ears. This may be because they are asymmetrical, protrude away from the head or have an abnormal shape. Men and women may be embarrassed by this and wear their hair long to hide them.

Reasons not to have it

Ear correction surgery in children should be delayed until they at least 5 years old and until the child expresses a desire to have something done about their ears - usually because of teasing in school.

Further information


Mr Roblin will examine your ears looking for any contour irregularity or deformity, the degree of protrusion of the ears and the symmetry. You will need to explain to him exactly what it is about your ears that you do not like and wish to be corrected.

You will be asked about your general health, information about your medical history and any previous surgical procedures.


An incision is made behind the ear and a small amount of skin is removed. The cartilage, which defines the shape of the ear, is then exposed. Mr Roblin uses three methods, or a combination of these, to correct the shape of the ear, depending on the correction that is required. One method is to score the front of the cartilage to weaken it, allowing the ear to fold back in a more natural alignment. For some ears this is more accurately achieved by inserting permanent sutures, which hold the ear in the correct position, and in others it is necessary to remove a portion of the cartilage to reduce the size of the ear.

A carefully applied turban style head dressing is used to hold the ears in their new position. This also helps to reduce swelling and discomfort and stays on for 7-10 days following surgery.


A general anaesthesia for children, and local anaesthetic for adults. The procedure takes 60-90 minutes.

Length of stay

Day case.

Risks/Possible complications

Early (1-2 days):

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding (haematoma)
  • Infection
  • Discomfort

Later (after one week):

  • Scars - unsightly
  • Numbness
  • Delayed healing
  • Incomplete improvement
  • Palpable sutures
  • Asymmetry
  • Later loss of correction


Immediately after the operation
  • You will feel bruised and sore and there will be some swelling
  • Pain is usually moderate and controlled with standard painkillers
  • A head bandage will be in place that may stay in when you go home
After return home
  • Socialising with friends 7-10 days
  • Return to work at 2 weeks
  • Driving at 1-2 weeks
  • Swelling and bruising up to 6-8 weeks
  • Wear supportive headband at night for 4 weeks
  • Return to gym and strenuous activity 1 month
  • Final result 3 months

Permanence of results