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What is Otoplasty?

Otoplasty is an outpatient procedure meant to reshape and/or decrease the size of the ears.

Why might my child benefit from Otoplasty?

Children with larger or other less typical size and look to the outer ear may benefit from Otoplasty. Otoplasty may help with wearing glasses, hearing aids and in many children increase self-confidence.

How is Otoplasty performed?

  • Otoplasty is an outpatient surgical procedure
  • It is done through a single incision (cut) on the back of the ear where it will not be easily visible.
  • If needed, the natural curves of the ear are re-made through the exact placement of permanent sutures on the backside of the ear cartilage.
  • If needed, the entire ear will also be set back closer to the head with permanent sutures.
  • The incision is closed with dissolvable sutures, which do not need to be removed.

Are there any instructions I need to follow before surgery?

Your child should NOT take Motrin® (ibuprofen) or other medicines that can increase bleeding risk for at least 3 days before surgery.

Your child must have a physical examination by their pediatrician or family doctor within 30 days before surgery. The doctor you see needs to complete the History and Physical form provided by our office. Bring the completed form with you the day of surgery.

It is very important your child has an empty stomach when anesthesia is given. Follow Children’s Hospitals’ Eating and Drinking Guidelines. If you do not follow these guidelines, your child's surgery will be canceled.

What can I expect after surgery?

The procedure can be performed on one or both ears at the same time. Your child will wake up in the recovery room after surgery. This can take 30 to 60 minutes. When your child is awake, they will be taken to the discharge area to complete the recovery. They may spend another 2-3 hours in this second phase of recovery. You can be with your child once they have been transferred to the discharge area. most patients can go home the same day.


Your child may experience purple or darkened skin from bruising on the outer surface of the ear

Pain Control

Ear pain is normal after surgery. Give your child Tylenol® (acetaminophen) or Motrin® (ibuprofen). For severe pain, your doctor may prescribe stronger pain medicine.

Wound Care

  • Ear dressing should be kept on continuously for two days, after this it may be removed daily for bathing, cleaning and dressing but should otherwise be on for all waking hours until follow up.
  • After two weeks, ear dressings are no longer needed during the day, but a tennis or soccer style headband should be worn over the ears at night for 4 additional weeks.
  • Follow-up with your child’s surgeon in the clinic 2 weeks after surgery.
  • Keep bandages dry. Bathing is OK but do not get the ears or dressing wet.
  • Clean the incisions with Hydrogen peroxide mixed with an equal amount of water.
  • If incisions are clean, then use an applicator (Q-tip®) moistened with plain water.
  • Apply Aquaphor® ointment
  • After cleaning the external incision, place Aquaphor® on the incision two times a day.
  • Aquaphor® is available without a prescription at all drug stores


  • Your child should not do any strenuous exercise or activity for 2 weeks. Walking is okay. Do not run, play sports, or lift weights. Do not participate in any competitive sports for 6 weeks.

When should I call my doctor?

  • Ear pain that is worsening despite medication
  • Fevers up to 102.0 F are considered normal after surgery. Call your provider for fevers over 102.0 F that do not come down with acetaminophen (Tylenol) and/or Ibuprofen.
  • If your child accidentally sustains and injury to the ear and there is a significant change in appearance.


The information provided in this brochure is not specific to your child. This information is provided as a service to our patients. The information is for educational and informational purposes only and should NOT be used as a substitute for the advice of your child’s physician.

If you have any questions, please call Children’s ENT and Facial Plastic Surgery Clinic.

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

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