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What Is Aesthetic Surgery Of The Ear Or Otoplasty?

Ear surgery called Otoplasty is most commonly performed to reposition protruding ears closer to the head at Sargent Plastic Surgery in Salt Lake City and Bountiful, Utah. Ears that “stick out” too far can cause ridicule and significant psychological distress. This operation can be designed to shape, position and size ears to a normal appearance. Ears are almost fully developed by 4-6 years of age so that an Otoplasty is typically performed at 4 or older. However, there is no age limit and an Otoplasty can be successfully performed on adults as well. Other ear deformities, such as “lop ears”, “cup ears”, or “constricted ears” can be corrected with reconstructive procedures.

The goal is to produce symmetrical, natural looking ears that don’t protrude or have any evidence of being surgically corrected.

In addition to the ears, there are surgical procedures just to address stretched, creased, or split earlobes.

Most children, if questioned, are very unhappy about having protruding ears, especially if they are teased about this. Therefore they usually are enthusiastic and cooperative during the process and are happy with the results.

Am I A Candidate For Aesthetic Ear Surgery?

You may be a candidate if you have the following:

  • protruding or prominent ears

  • asymmetric ears

  • constricted ears

  • earlobe deformities

  • have some congenital ear problems such as partial development

What Is Involved In Otoplasty?

The procedure is usually performed under intravenous general anesthesia. Analysis of the particular deformity is key to determining the best procedure to correct the problem. An incision is made behind the ear to expose the cartilage. Reshaping the cartilage is performed using sutures to maintain the new shape. Additional techniques may be needed depending on the deformity. The scar is behind the ear and not easily visible. The patient is wrapped in a turban-like dressing for 4-5 days. Once this is removed a sweatband is worn to protect the ears particularly when sleeping.

Patients may resume normal activities in one week. Children can go back to school in one week and no playground activities for 4 weeks.

Otoplasty 1 Larry A Sargent MD FACS
Otoplasty 2 Larry A Sargent MD FACS
Otoplasty 3 Larry A Sargent MD FACS
Otoplasty 4 Larry A Sargent MD FACS
Otoplasty 5 Larry A Sargent MD FACS
Otoplasty 6 Larry A Sargent MD FACS

All Procedures Shown were done by Dr. Larry A Sargent MD FACS

Quick Answers

Length Of Surgery

Usually 1 1/2-2 hours for a cosmetic procedure. More for a reconstructive procedure.


Intravenous sedation or general anesthesia

Length Of Stay

Usually outpatient procedure


  • Mild discomfort

  • Restrict activities first few days

  • Bandage off in 4-5 days then sweatband at night

  • Return to school/work 7 days

  • Avoid contact sports 4-6 weeks


Scars hidden behind ears

Risks / Possible Complications

Serious complications are unlikely.

In addition to usual risks associated with anesthesia often risks include:

  • Hematoma: collection of blood beneath skin that may need to be drained.

  • Infection: Unusual to occur but if it does, it can be treated with antibiotics

  • Suture erosion: Occasionally one of the permanent sutures used to reshape cartilage will have a localized reaction causing it to breakthrough skin. This can be treated by removing sutures without compromising results.

Need More Information?

  • Plastic Surgery Center of Utah
  • Sargent Plastic Surgery
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Larry A. Sargent MD FACS, sargent plastic surgery, 370 9th Ave, STE 200, Salt Lake City, Utah 84103  801.355.0731        New location: 2290 ogletree avenue, ste 112, chattanooga, Tenn, 37421 


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