Otoplasty, or surgery to correct protruding ears, can be performed at almost any age. The surgery is most often performed on children at five or six years of age when the ear has reached near full development. Adult ear surgery is also possible. Generally, there are no additional risks associated with ear surgery on an adult.
The surgery is performed through incisions which are placed on the backside of the ear. The cartilage of the ear is exposed, and then sculpted and repositioned to bring it back towards the head.
Ear surgery is usually performed as an outpatient procedure.
If the surgery is on a child, general anesthesia will be used so that the child will sleep through the surgery. For older patients local anesthesia combined with a sedative may be offered instead.
A large head bandage is worn for about a week after surgery so that the ears will heal in their new, flat, position. Stitches are usually dissolvable. The surgery leaves a faint scar behind the ears. The complications of surgery are rare but include infection, bleeding and recurrence. Some degree of mild asymmetry may persist after the surgery.
Most adults will be able to return to work after about five days. Children can go back to school after about a week.