Ear reduction (otoplasty)

Affecting around one in 20 people, overly large ears often result in a significant aesthetic and psychological handicap. Indeed, prominent or protruding ears can wreak havoc in young lives, causing many to seek an otoplasty (ear reduction surgery), often when still a child.

Ears that are out of proportion with the rest of the face can draw too much attention, marring the appearance of other features. Many people with protruding ears often learn to hide them from a young age, be it with a hat or hairstyles, to avoid unkind remarks.

Otoplasty, or ear correction, is a surgical procedure that reduces the appearance of prominent ears, pulling them back closer to the head and making them less noticeable. An otoplasty is a relatively simple operation to correct protruding ears, and can result in a pleasing and long-lasting outcome.

Suitable for both adults and children, the procedure usually takes around two hours. The surgeon makes a small incision, using either a scalpel or laser, at the back of the ear so that the cartilage is exposed. The cartilage is then sculpted and bent back toward the head. In cases where only one ear may protrude, the surgery is usually still performed on both ears for better balance.

After the surgery, a bandage is wrapped around the patient’s head to help with moulding and healing. This stays on for approximately one week, after which a lighter and smaller headband is usually worn during sleep for the next two to three weeks. In most cases the incision leaves a faint scar at the back of the ear, which fades over time. Swelling and bruising post-surgery is usually minimal.