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Otoplasty (Correction of Protruding Ears)

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The Cosmetic Ear Surgery That Can Change Your Life

Are you tired of feeling self-conscious about your ears? Do you feel like they stick out too far or have an unusual shape? If so, otoplasty may be the solution you’ve been looking for. Otoplasty, also known as cosmetic ear surgery, is a surgical procedure that changes the shape, position, or size of the ears. At Philadelphia Plastic Surgery & Medspa, our facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Thomas C. Spalla offers otoplasty to help our patients feel more confident and comfortable with the appearance of their ears.

What Is an Otoplasty?

Otoplasty is a surgical procedure that changes the shape, position, or size of the ears. It is also known as cosmetic ear surgery and is typically done on both ears to optimize symmetry. Otoplasty can be done at any age. Most commonly, otoplasty is performed on children around 5 years of age, but the procedure can be done at any stage in you, or your child’s, life.

While it may not be the first thing people think of when they hear the word, otoplasty, Dr. Spalla also performs earlobe reduction, torn lobe repairs, stretched piercing repairs, keloids, and even the closure of holes from gauges that have significantly stretched the lobules.

Benefits of Otoplasty

The benefits of otoplasty include:

  • Improved self-confidence and self-esteem
  • A more natural appearance to the ears
  • Correction of structural ear abnormalities
  • Improved balance and proportion to the ears and face
  • The creation of an earlobe that isn’t torn, stretched, or has a large hole in it

Who Qualifies for an Otoplasty?

People who are bothered by protruding ears or have misshapen ears due to an injury, birth defect, trauma, piercings, or gauges are good candidates for otoplasty. Most people who have otoplasty are between the ages of 5 and 7. At this point, the ear is nearly fully grown and the early intervention helps minimize any ridicule that can occur from other school aged children. However, Dr. Spalla can perform ear surgery on patients of any age and is more than happy to see you at any time that you feel comfortable to make a change.

How Does the Procedure Work?

Otoplasty is a surgical procedure that changes the shape, position, or size of the ears. The specific surgical steps vary depending on what type of otoplasty the patient is having. Here are the general steps of the procedure:


Medications are administered for the patient’s comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include local, intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia. Dr. Spalla will recommend the best choice for the patient. Of note, children are always recommended general anesthesia as the method of choice to minimize any anxiety associated with surgery.

The Reshaping

Incisions for otoplasty are generally made on the back surface of the ear. When incisions are necessary on the front of the ear, they are made within its folds to hide them. Dr. Spalla will use surgical techniques to mold and shape the ear into a more nature position. This always involves the use of sutures, and at times also involves conservative reshaping or resection of ear cartilage and other soft tissues to effect a permanent and lasting result.

Closing the Incision

Internal, permanent sutures are used to create and secure the newly shaped cartilage in place. Externally, dissolvable sutures are used in children, and non-dissolvable may be used in adults.

Final Results

Dr. Spalla will wrap the head with a bulky bandage immediately following surgery to promote the best molding and healing. The ears may throb or ache a little for a few days, but this can be relieved by medication. The dressing will be removed the day after surgery and then replaced by a lighter head dressing similar to a headband. An elastic headband is required 24/7 for the first week after surgery and then as much as reasonable for the next two weeks including sleeping with it on. This helps to avoid any tension on the delicately placed sutures, and the headband helps to avoid any trauma to the healing ears.

Be sure to follow Dr. Spalla’s instructions for the headband as well as wound care to ensure your best possible results. The patient should be able to return to school or work within five to seven days, depending on the extent of the surgery.

Patients who undergo surgery to repair issues with the lobule are generally able to return to work the following day.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the primary indication for otoplasty?

The primary indication for otoplasty is to correct prominauris, or protruding ears. Otoplasty is recommended for individuals whose ears stick out more than 20 mm and at an angle greater than 35° from the occipital scalp. It is also suitable for those with misshapen ears due to an injury or birth defect. 

Can otoplasty alter large or stretched earlobes or lobes with large creases and wrinkles?

Yes, otoplasty can alter large or stretched earlobes or lobes with large creases and wrinkles. The procedure can help reshape part of the cartilage in the ears, allowing them to lie closer to the side of the head. It is recommended that individuals who are considering ear surgery consult with a qualified healthcare provider to determine if they are a good candidate for the procedure.

Will the position of the ears after otoplasty match perfectly with natural ears?

Dr. Spalla will do his utmost best to achieve symmetry between the ears. In general, a difference of 3mm between the ears is not noticeable. Otoplasty aims to provide a more natural position, size, and shape to the ears. 

When thinking of the situation of prominent ears, this appearance can catch one’s eye, and that’s the indication for intervention. Dr. Spalla aims to take away that distraction so the ear isn’t creating any distraction in the patient’s appearance.

Experience the Life-Changing Transformation of Otoplasty Today!

At Philadelphia Plastic Surgery & Medspa, Dr. Spalla offers otoplasty to help his patients feel more confident and comfortable. If you’re considering otoplasty, schedule a consultation with Dr. Spalla by giving us a call, or text at at 215-273-FACE (3223) to determine if you’re a good candidate for the procedure. With dR. Spalla’s guidance and care, otoplasty can be a life-changing procedure that can help you feel more confident and comfortable in you, or your appearance.

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