Otoplasty which includes ear pinning, can be performed on children as young as 5 or 6 years old, provided their ears have finished growing. Typically the surgery is performed over the winter or summer break when the child will have plenty of time to heal. It is also performed on adults of all ages, as long as they are healthy non-smokers. The surgery takes 1 to 2 hours and is performed on an outpatient basis. Adults will receive local anesthesia with sedation, while children typically receive general anesthesia.

woman with a ponytail and earrings wearing a black dress

Cosmetic Issues Addressed

  • Protruding ears
  • Asymmetrical ears
  • Lop ear
  • Stahl’s ear
  • Cauliflower ear
  • Torn or stretched earlobes
  • Microtia 

What to Expect During the Procedure


During ear surgery, a small incision is created behind the ear through which the surgeon is able to refine and re-shape the ear cartilage, suturing it into a more aesthetically pleasing position. The doctor may also remove skin from the ear if needed. The end result will be an ear shape that is symmetrical and naturally attractive.

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Earlobe Contouring

Through the frequent wearing of large, heavy jewelry, the earlobe can tear right through the bottom. An earlobe may also rip due to an injury, accident, or trauma. In these cases, earlobe repair is performed under local anesthesia to restore a natural look. Fine sutures are used to meticulously re-construct a rounded earlobe contour that is aligned with the patient’s pre-existing anatomy. The earlobe will fully heal after around 90 days, at which point you will be permitted to re-pierce the surface.

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Recovery and Results

After otoplasty, you may feel some discomfort; however, you will be provided with painkillers. Bandages affixed in place for several days are replaced with surgical dressings that are to be worn for up to a week. Otoplasty patients should abstain from “side-sleeping” for several weeks after the procedure. Scarring after surgery is inconspicuous, as the incisions are carefully and strategically placed behind the ears.


Adults of any age can undergo ear surgery as long as they are mentally and physically healthy non-smokers who are not currently dealing with any significant medical issues.

Good candidates have a realistic and positive attitude towards results based on a confidential consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeons in South Florida. Children as young as five years old can undergo the surgery, as long as their ears are fully grown and they can handle the recovery period. Otoplasty can greatly improve a child’s self-confidence and help them avoid taunting or teasing at school.

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What are the possible risks of otoplasty?

Complications after ear surgery are usually quite rare, especially when the procedure is performed by an experienced and precision-oriented surgeon. Common risks include anesthesia risks, infection, blood clots, a change in skin sensation, asymmetry, and a poor cosmetic result. Otoplasty will not affect hearing in any way, shape, or form.

What will my scarring be like after surgery?

The vast majority of ear surgery incisions are located behind the ear and are barely noticeable. Our experienced plastic surgeons are careful to practice a conservative approach that conceals scarring. We can also provide the patient with medical-grade scar creams after surgery to help improve the look of their incisions. All scars will fade significantly with time.

What are the most common causes of earlobe damage?

  • Heavy-hanging earrings and jewelry
  • Wearing earrings while on the phone
  • Wearing earrings at the hairdresser
  • Having a small child clutch or pull at an earring
  • Removing clothes over the head while wearing earrings
  • Sudden or erratic movements
  • Getting an earring stuck on a partner’s clothing

How long does earlobe repair take?

Earlobe repair is performed after the treatment area has been coated with a topical numbing cream and injected with a local anesthetic. The entire procedure takes about 20 to 30 minutes to complete, after which the patient will be able to return to their normal activities.

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