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Otoplasty, also referred to as cosmetic ear surgery, is a type of cosmetic procedure to change the size, shape, or position of the ear. It is performed on the visible part of the outer ear, called auricle. Some people choose to have the surgery to correct odd-shaped ears due to an injury or birth defect. Others have it because they are concerned with how their ears protrude too far from their head. Otoplasty can be performed at any age after the ears have reached their full size, generally after age 5. In some cases, the surgery may be done as early as age 3.
There are several types of otoplasty. The following are the most common:
The recovery period may vary from one person to another. You may experience numbness for several weeks, and mild bruising for about 2 weeks. For several months, your ears may feel stiff and sore.
You should be able to go back to work and resume your normal activities, including exercise, within one to two weeks after surgery. Physical contact sports, such as rugby, football, or judo, should be avoided for at least 3 months. You should also avoid swimming for up to 8 weeks following your otoplasty.
Otoplasty is a safe and effective procedure, with high satisfaction rates. More than 90% of people who had the procedure claimed to be extremely happy with the results. Note that it may take some time for the result to be fully visible.
While it is a safe procedure, you still need to be aware of possible risks and complications that otoplasty carries. These include bleeding, hematoma formation, infection of the skin, infection of the cartilage of the ear, permanent or temporary numbness around the affected area, scar or keloid formation, unfavorable results, prolonged pain, narrowing of the external ear canal, impaired healing, changes in skin sensation, asymmetry, and overcorrection.