Otoplasty surgery, also known as ear pinning, is a procedure that permanently moves protruding ears closer to the head. This surgery is common for all ages, from small children to adults, who desire a more proportionate ear size and shape.

Otoplasty Overview - Everything You Need to Know

The Skinny

avg. recovery
10 days
Is permanent
Surgical Procedure
$3000 - $7000

About the Procedure

Last Updated: 09.18.2021

An otoplasty procedure can be beneficial for patients who have genetically large ears that also stick out from the head. This surgery can simultaneously reduce the size and correct the angle the ear protrudes from the head. The earFold procedure, which is an alternate approach to an otoplasty and produces similar results, may be less invasive but cannot account for adjustment in ear size and may not help patients whose ear projection originates from any place other than the antihelix. Before an otoplasty surgery, the ear will be cleansed and injected with a local anesthetic. Depending on the extent of the procedure the patient may also be sedated or placed under general anesthesia. An incision will be placed behind the ear to expose the ear cartilage. Next, the cartilage will be removed and shaped to a smaller size. If a substantial amount of cartilage is removed, the surgeon will likely also have to remove excess skin. Once the ideal size is achieved the angle will be perfected to be closer to the sides of the head. The incisions will be closed and bandages applied.

The primary goal of otoplasty is to reshape prominent ears by manipulating the cartilage behind the ear to hold the ear back and diminish its prominence.


Otoplasty addresses concerns such as:

Recovery Notes

For the first week after an otoplasty procedure, it is common for the ear to secrete a thick, dark substance along with blood which should be cleansed with a peroxide solution. Do not allow water to enter the ear. Strenuous activities such as swimming and sports are to be avoided while the ear heals. Do not blow the nose for 2 weeks after surgery as this can cause pressure in the ears, creating discomfort for the patient.

Ideal Candidate

Children who are good candidates for ear surgery are in general good health, without a life-threatening illness or untreated chronic ear infections, is generally 5 years old, or when a child's ear cartilage is stable enough for correction. Teenagers and adults who are good candidates for ear surgery are in general good health and do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing.

Not Recommended For

Otoplasty is not recommended for patients whose ears have not reached their full size, which normally happens by the age of 5 years.

Side Effects

Moderate pain, itching and numbness are common following an otoplasty procedure.


  • ear shape
  • face proportion
  • confidence
  • low risk
  • permanent results


  • symmetry
  • scarring
  • numbness

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