What is Otoplasty?
Otoplasty, commonly known as prominent ear surgery or cosmetic ear surgery, is one of the most common procedures in cosmetic and corrective surgery. Ear deformity in terms of its separation from the head is the most common inherited anomaly among numerous deformities on the outer part of the ear.
Prominent or asymmetrical ears are difficult to hide and represent an aesthetic problem that can become a source of deep dissatisfaction in children, teenagers, but also adults.
Otoplasty is mostly performed during childhood, but people of all ages can undergo this surgical procedure. The growth and development of the auricle end around the 5th year of life, after which it is possible to surgically correct the auricle.
The goal of the operation is to decrease the ears’ prominence, get the natural shape of the ear, and to remove the psychological burden of the patient.
Ear surgery or otoplasty is an aesthetic procedure that:
- corrects the shape of the ear
- changes the size of the ear
- changes the position of the ear
- changes the proportion of the ears
Am I a good candidate?
Otoplasty can be done when the ears reach their full size, most often after the age of 5. This operation is recommended if the eardrums are placed so that they protrude significantly outside the surface of the head, if the eardrums are larger than the size of the head and if you are dissatisfied with the result of the previous operation.
You might be a good candidate for Otoplasty if:
- You have lowered self-esteem due to prominent ears
- You experienced emotional stress and taunting due to the appearance of your ears
- You are at least 5 years old
- You are in good overall health
Benefits of Otoplasty
Ears are typically not the major focal point of one’s face, but if they visibly protrude it can leave some people feeling self-conscious or unhappy about their looks.
An ear correction and beautification intervention will help you not only to change the look of your ears but also your overall appearance, which will definitely affect your self-confidence. And that self-confidence has no price is something that all satisfied patients who have done this operation a long time ago know.
You can expect:
- Proportional and contoured outer ear.
- Permanent results
- An increase in self-confidence
- A feeling of satisfaction and relief for solving this aesthetic problem that has always bothered you.
About Ear Surgery
Otoplasty is most often performed under local anaesthesia but can be done under general anaesthesia as well. Since every patient is different, the surgical technique varies based on the type of correction needed. The specific technique chosen by your surgeon will determine the location of the incisions and scars.
After making incisions surgeon can remove excess cartilage and skin from the ears. The cartilage is then folded into the appropriate position and closed with sutures. By carefully reshaping the cartilage and contouring the basic elements of the ear, the desired shape and natural symmetry are achieved. The scars remain completely hidden in the natural crease behind the ear and will often be completely invisible after the recovery period. The procedure usually takes from 1-2 hours, depending on the technique, patient, and the complexity of the procedure.
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If you’d like more information about a particular surgery, please call our surgical support team on 1300 264 811 between 9am – 5am weekdays.
Recovery after Otoplasty
Recovery from Otoplasty ear pinning surgery is typically very quick, and most patients will not require any time off work unless they are experiencing discomfort or pain.
After the surgery, your ears will be covered with protective bandages to protect the incision area. You will wear the bandage for 24-48 hours. This bandage will be replaced with an elastic band to protect your ears from traumas for the next 5-7 days.
Dissolvable stitches are often used when suitable, and these then dissolve within 7-10 days.
Three to four weeks after surgery, an elastic band is worn at night to prevent unintentional ear injuries during sleep.
During the first couple of days of recovery, you might experience some swelling, bruising, itching, and mild discomfort. Your doctor will provide you with painkillers which usually help the most patient to manage pain easily.
You will receive detailed post-operative instructions from your doctor, which should be followed in order to achieve optimal results, speed up recovery, and avoid complications.
Normally, just a couple of hours after the surgery you will be discharged from the hospital.
Demanding physical activities and contact sports should be avoided at least for a month.
Most patients go back to their regular activities (school, work) in a week after the surgery.
It is important to remember that all surgical procedures leave scars, including ‘so-called’ scarless methods.
Experienced plastic surgeons are extremely careful about scar placement and minimisation, with surgical scars generally fading over time with most scars being barely visible after 12 months.
We will arrange weekly post-op appointments with our specialist nursing team after your procedure to ensure everything is healing well and to monitor your progress.
You will see your surgeon and/or nurse and/or dermal team about six to eight weeks later for a scar consultation and organise scar minimisation treatments.
The Coco Ruby dermal team conducts a series of follow-up scar treatments using a customised selection of Skin Needling, Healite II LED and massaging with oils, Fraxel Laser, V-Laser, Silicone strips & gels and Steroids can also help minimise scars. Ask the Coco Ruby Team!
Note – The length of your recovery period will depend on your procedure and your health and lifestyle factors. Recovery times can vary from person to person – resting helps healing.
Please avoid subjecting your incision to abrasion or excessive stresses during the recovery period.
How noticeable are the scars after Otoplasty?
- The incisions are placed in the natural crease where the ears are connected to the skull, so the scarring is usually unnoticeable. Scarring after Otoplasty reduces over several weeks as it heals, and are typically minimal to nearly invisible for many patients.
Is it possible to perform Otoplasty on only one ear?
- Yes, if only one ear is protruding the surgeon can perform the surgery only on one ear to achieve a balanced look.
Will Otoplasty improve my hearing?
- No, otoplasty is a solely cosmetic surgery procedure and does not affect ear function.
Can Otoplasty be revised?
- Yes, if you are unhappy with the results of your Otoplasty, revision is possible after your ears are completely recovered from the first surgery.
Can Otoplasty be combined with other surgical procedures?
- Yes, it can and it regularly is.
How long will I have to wear a headband?
- You should wear a headband for at least 10-14 days after the surgery. After that period, you can start wearing headband only during sleep to reduce the chance of injuries (5-7 weeks).
Can Otoplasty change the size of my ears?
- Yes, otoplasty can alter the shape, size, and protrusion of your ears.
Is Otoplasty covered by Medicare?
- Ear Pinning is considered cosmetic in nature. Otoplasty Surgery is not covered by Medicare.
Ear Surgery Surgery Cost
Every patient is different, therefore the prices vary. You will be given a price quote after your first consultation.
Your Otoplasty Surgery quote will include your surgeon’s fee, anesthetist’s fee, perhaps a surgical assistant fee, and the hospital fees.
Funding Ear Surgery –Medicare, Payment Plans and Super
Some Ear Surgery procedures may be eligible for Medicare.
Purely cosmetic Otoplasty procedures are usually NOT covered by Medicare or private health insurance so you must fund the cost of the surgery yourself.
Many patients ask about payment options and medical finance – You can learn more about payment options for funding your Otoplasty procedure on our Funding Surgery page here.
Your super fund may also be able to help pay for your procedure in certain circumstances – visit the Super for Surgery page to find out about the early release of super on compassionate grounds.
Complications and Risks of Ear Surgery
Like all other types of surgery, otoplasty comes with the risk of bleeding, infection, and bad reactions to anaesthesia. Typically, for healthy candidates who follow pre-surgery and post-op instructions, risks are minimal.
Some of the most common risks and complications are:
- Scars (scars are permanent but usually successfully hidden inside the natural crest)
- Ear asymmetry
- Changes in skin sensation
- Unnatural look
Further reading – Medical references on Ear Surgery
Your Surgical Journey
After you choose the right surgeon, you will attend consultations to talk more about your wishes, expectations, and medical history.
Medical examinations will be performed, in order for the surgeon to determine which operative technique is the best for you.
Your doctor will explain possible complications, inform you about preoperative preparation, what tests and laboratory findings are needed, what to avoid before surgery, and how to behave after surgery.
Otoplasty is a procedure in which the surgeon removes excess skin behind the ear to reach the cartilage. The cartilage will be precisely reshaped, in order to achieve the desired contour of the ear, natural symmetry, and desired shape.
Postoperatively, you will report for regular check-ups in agreement with your surgeon.
Your surgeon will compare and analyze the results of the surgery. The results of otoplasty are permanent. You will have to follow post-surgery instructions carefully to improve the results and reduce the recovery time.
Why Choose Dr Briggs?
Our leading specialist Plastic Surgeons perform Otoplasty procedures or ‘ear pinning surgery’ for adults over the age of 18. Our Surgeons do not offer earlobe repairs for perforated earlobes.
Our Melbourne based, fully-qualified Plastic Surgeons primarily operate at accredited major hospitals in Melbourne. They use only experienced anaesthetists and a top team of surgical support staff.
We are an Australia wide Specialist Plastic Surgeons Group, with the appropriate
qualifications and members of recognized associations.
Look for members of FRCS, ASPS, ASAPS, or ISAPS as some of the Qualifications of your Plastic Surgeon.
Otoplasty is a highly specialised field, so the choice of the right surgeon with Otoplasty expertise can deeply impact the results you are looking for.
Dr Patrick Briggs
Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in Melbourne
Dr Patrick Briggs is a Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon and his team are dedicated to excellence in patient care and are committed to treating each and every patient with respect and privacy.
Dr Patrick Briggs offers high quality, natural-looking plastic and cosmetic surgery results and is experienced in Breast, Body and Face Surgery having performed over 4500 Surgeries in private practice. Dr Patrick Briggs is an expert in breast, face and body surgery for men and women.
How can we help?
Dr Briggs’ Patient Coordinators take pleasure in assisting you with any questions when considering a plastic surgery procedure. Please call the Hawthorn East clinic in Melbourne between 8 am – 6 pm on Weekdays.
Want more information about your Procedure?
What to Bring to Your Consultation
- If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
- Take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents your surgeon provides.
- You may need to undress so it’s a good idea to wear simple clothes.
How to Book a Consultation
- Dr Briggs Consultation fee is $300.
- A referral from your GP or your specialist is helpful but not essential. However,
- To claim any Medicare or Health Insurance you will need a referral.
- Please contact the Patient Care Team at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery today to book your consultation.
*Disclaimer: Individual results can vary significantly from patient to patient. The information we provide is general. For further information on what to expect for your preferred procedures, arrange to see one of our Specialist Plastic Surgeons for a full history and surgical consultation.