Are you embarrassed by your ears? We can help.

Prominent ears are a common issue affecting many children and adults. Any person who is self-conscious about the appearance of protruding ears may be a candidate for otoplasty. Protruding ears can be the source of teasing for children, with a long-term impact on self-confidence. Ear surgery can be performed on a child at about six years of age, when the external ear has matured sufficiently. Adults who feel their ears stick out too far, are too large, or uneven can undergo custom ear surgery to create a very natural look, with the ears balanced and lying next to the head.

Omaha Face, where we focus on you.

Dr. John Harbison is double board-certified in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and in otolaryngology (head and neck surgery). We provide a state-of-the-art, AAAASF accredited surgical facility, and we maintain the highest standards for patient health and safety. Omaha Face is a private, boutique practice offering individually tailored treatment plans.

What will the surgery be like?

There may be several anatomical issues contributing to enlarged, protruding ears. This surgical procedure is customized to each individual case. 

  • Otoplasty in children is done under general anesthesia, while adults frequently undergo this procedure with mild sedation and local anesthesia. 
  • Most ear surgeries involve an incision that hides in the crease behind the ear(s) and subsequent reshaping and pinning of the cartilage to a more desired position. 
  • In some cases, a small amount of skin from behind the ear may be excised (cut away). 
  • Incisions are meticulously closed, and the ears are bandaged.

How long does it take to recover?

  • The ears are bandaged carefully after surgery, and the bandages are left on for one to two days. 
  • At the first follow-up visit, the dressing is taken down and the ears are inspected carefully. 
  • A home pressure dressing is worn for the next seven days. 
  • For several weeks after that, you will still sleep with a headband to provide comfort and protect your ears at night. 
  • You can expect mild bruising and swelling over the first week, which will improve quickly thereafter. 
  • Avoid contact sports and strenuous activity for three weeks after surgery. 
  • Pain and discomfort are typically mild and well-controlled with pain medication. 
  • You will be placed on antibiotics for a short time after surgery to help prevent infection.

Ear Surgery FAQ

Will insurance cover ear surgery?

In most cases, health insurance companies will not cover procedures performed for cosmetic reasons only. Your insurer may provide coverage if otoplasty is being done to correct a congenital abnormality or deformity.

Why should children have ear surgery at age four or five?

A child with large, protruding ears could become a victim of teasing upon entering elementary school. At age six, the ears have developed enough for surgery. Undergoing otoplasty at this time, before starting grade school, can help the child avoid a potential emotionally stressful situation.

Does otoplasty make your ears smaller?

After an otoplasty procedure, the ears may protrude less and appear smaller, but their actual size will remain the same.

How long does ear surgery take?

A typical otoplasty procedure takes approximately 60 minutes to perform.

Where are the incisions made for ear surgery?

In most cases, incisions for otoplasty are placed in the natural fold just behind the ear, where it meets the head. These lines are not noticeable once the incisions heal.

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