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Ear Surgery

Ear Surgery, Ear Pinning or Otoplasty 

Ears that project too far can lead to social ridicule and a loss of self-confidence. This is especially an observation and a concern in young school children.

Ear surgery or otoplasty, is a procedure that sets back and reshapes the ears, with the aim of providing ear form that is socially acceptable and symmetrical.

Am I a suitable candidate for ear surgery?

Any patient with projected or mis-shapen ears may be suitable for ear surgery. The majority of patients who would like their ears fixed are young school children. At this age surgery should only be performed once the patient can understand what is involved. On this basis we would caution against operating at too earlier an age.

How is ear surgery, or otoplasty, performed?

Ear surgery can be performed either under a local or general anaesthetic as a day case, reserving the later for children and normally takes just an hour to perform. The surgery is performed by removing some skin from behind the ear and reshaping the cartilage of the ear. In some cases, the ear can also be set back by suture.

Reconstruction of shape, and restoration of a normal position of the ear.

Ear surgery or otoplasty usually requires making an incision on the back of the ear and removing some skin. This allows the surgeon access to the ear cartilage which can then be reshaped and repositioned.


Cartilage has memory and will easily return to its normal position. To break this natural property the surgeon can make small cuts with a scalpel to maintain the new shape and position (A).


A number of suture and scoring techniques are now used, each of which are tailored to the individuals need. Commonly suturing the ear back onto the scalp can restore the position of the ear relative to the head (Concho-Mastoid Suture – B)

Recovery from ear surgery or otoplasty

At the end of the ear surgery a special head bandage is applied to maintain the position of the ears. This should stay on until it is removed at your first clinic review (10 days). Other than some discomfort, which may last for a day or so after the surgery, recovery is good.

Occasionally some ear surgery patients can feel sick and dizzy. If this persists you should have the bandage reviewed.

It is advisable to avoid contact sport or swimming front crawl for 3 months after your ear surgery.

Wearing a light fitting head bandage at night will prevent the ear from folding forward. Expect the swelling and bruising to take up to 6 weeks to resolve.

Risks and Implications of Otoplasty

To perform the operation a portion of skin is removed from behind the ear and the cartilage of the ear is reshaped and set back. Care must be taken to obtain symmetry and avoid irregular or uneven folds in the cartilage. As with any operation there is a small chance of bleeding and even more rarely infection.

A big thank you

"I would just like to say a big thank you, to you Leanne, Mr Fitton and all the nurses that I encountered during my stay in hospital and at my pre/post op appointments. You've all been very lovely and provided an amazing service.’"

So much more confident

"We hadn’t realised how much her protruding ears affected her in her adult life and were somewhat shocked when she told us she had arranged her operation at the Nuffield. I have to say it has transformed her – she is so much more confident, never wears her hair down and the slight stutter she had has disappeared. I just wanted to let you know the impact your expertise has had on her. Money well spent. I can’t thank you enough."

Expertise, huge care and attention

"Thank you so much for your expertise, huge care and attention. I am thrilled with the results!"

What you need to know...


Ear surgery aims to set back and reshape the ears to create an ear form that is socially acceptable and symmetrical.

Stay Required

No. This is a day procedure. However, we ask that you rest at home.


Ear surgery takes up to 60 minutes.


Ear surgery can be performed either under a local or general anaesthetic.