Otoplasty Information Sheet

Offered at our convenient location in Raleigh, NC

Otoplasty, or cosmetic ear surgery, is a procedure with the goal of improving the ear’s functionality and/or improving its appearance. Often this type of reconstructive surgery corrects prominent ears in children, though otoplasty can also repair injuries or congenital disabilities. 

If you or your child have ears that stick too far out from your head, are too large compared to your head, or if you are dissatisfied with previous ear surgery, then otoplasty may be the way to correct this. 

How to Prepare for Otoplasty Surgery

Otoplasty surgery won’t change your ears’ location, and it should not alter your ability to hear. However, ears are complex structures, so choose a doctor who has experience performing this procedure. 

Your doctor should ask you to take these steps to prepare for otoplasty surgery:

  • Do not ingest any products containing aspirin for ten days before your surgery, as aspirin thins the blood and can cause complications. Anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil should not be taken four days before surgery unless you are specifically approved by your doctor. 
  • A day or two before your appointment, pick up your doctor-approved pain relievers from your pharmacy.
  • If you smoke, quit or cut back significantly in the two weeks leading up to your surgery to prevent post-op coughing and bleeding. 
  • If you elect to have IV sedation, you will not be able to eat or drink after midnight on the night before your procedure, including drinking water and chewing gum. Stock your pantry with easy-to-eat, light meals for your recovery. (If you will be under local anesthetic only, there will be no restriction on food or drink intake). 
  • If you experience symptoms of the flu or a cold close to your surgery date, call your doctor’s office so they can decide whether or not it is safe to proceed.

What to Expect From Otoplasty Surgery

When you arrive at Allen Aesthetic Surgery, you will first be taken to a pre-op holding room where we will confirm all your paperwork and do an initial preoperative interview. Dr. Allen will also come in to take photos and do some presurgical measurements and markings.  

An anesthesiologist may meet you in the pre-op holding room and conduct his/her own interview if you will be under IV sedation. The anesthesiologist will place an IV into your arm and administer medication to help you sleep if you elect to have IV sedation.  They will also monitor your blood pressure and pulse for the entirety of your surgery.  

Expect the surgery to last 2 to 3 hours. Your doctor will make incisions on the back of your ear or at your ear’s inner creases. They will then remove or resituate your cartilage and skin. The number and placement of incisions often affect the otoplasty surgery price. 

Post-Otoplasty Surgery

After surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room until your medication wears off. Otoplasty surgery is an outpatient procedure, but someone will need to drive you home and help you with routine tasks 24 hours after surgery (in particular if you have other than local and oral sedation). You should also follow these additional guidelines:

  • To prevent swelling and bruising, sleep with your head upright on your first day home, and avoid sleeping on your side for a few days. Minor discomfort and itching are common.
  • Do not remove any bandages or wash your face for one week after surgery. Dressings protect open wounds from infection, but they also hold your ears in the appropriate position while they heal. 
  • After your dressings are removed, you will need to wear a loose headband for the 2 to 6 weeks of otoplasty recovery time, particularly at night.
  • Avoid hot liquids and slowly introduce different foods until you can resume your regular diet. Often the medications used before Otoplasty surgery and during the recovery for otoplasty can cause nausea and vomiting.


Any surgical procedure can have complications, including otoplasty. By understanding what to expect, Allen Aesthetic Surgery can prepare you for the worst, so the worst won’t happen. Look out for these signs after your procedure:

  • An infection on the skin of the ear or the cartilage inside the ear
  • Bleeding or drainage from the ear, or bruising beneath the skin (if you feel pain on only one ear after surgery, this could be a sign of a hematoma)
  • Numbness around the ear or face
  • An overgrowth of scar tissue
  • Prolonged pain or impaired hearing
  • Shrinking of the ear canal
  • Permanent sutures are becoming visible beneath the skin.
  • A fever higher than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit 

When your doctor approves the removal of your bandages, dip a Q-tip in hydrogen peroxide and gently remove the crust from around your wound to promote healing and prevent excess scarring. Use a gentle soap to clean your face and avoid scrubbing. If possible, don’t wear glasses or earrings for the first three weeks. 

Post operative consultations will follow your surgery to make certain that healing is following a normal curve.  You will be advised on which days to return to Allen Aesthetic Surgery for these appointments.