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Uneven Ears After Otoplasty?

I had a Bilateral Otoplasty done 3 months ago and my one ear hurts more than the other and they are still a little numb/tingly when I run my finger down the back of them.

The one sore ear has a more pinned-to-the-head look than the other and I was wondering how long it took for the ears to be 100% healed from this procedure and how long it takes for them to be the shape they will be for the rest of my life.

Doctor Answers (16)

Asymmetry Following Otoplasty

+1

It’s not uncommon to have some residual asymmetry following otoplasty surgery.  Symmetry is an aesthetic goal of every bilateral cosmetic surgical procedure, but may not be attainable for a variety of reasons.  It’s important to understand that some asymmetry is a normal phenomena.  In many cases this is related to swelling and may take 3 to 6 months to resolve.

The moment surgical dressings are removed following otoplasty, patients will notice dramatic changes in the appearance of their ears.  They will immediately notice differences in contour and shape of the ears.

Initially the ears will be swollen, numb, red and bruised.  This will improve significantly in the first 6-8 weeks following surgery.  Small amounts of residual swelling may persist for 3 to 6 months following surgery.

Six months following surgery, you should be able to see your final result.  At this point, your ears should no longer be swollen or tender.


Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Uneven Ears After Otoplasty

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Pain and numbing are normal and depend on the individual. By three months you should be able to see how your ears will be positioned. If you are truly concerned, I would recommend consulting with your facial plastic surgeon about a possible revisional otoplasty. But try not to expect both of your ears to look exactly the same as it's pretty normal for them to still have some differences.

Carlo Honrado, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Otoplasty healing

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Aching and tingling may linger for months after otoplasty but should resolve. The ears are rarely precisely the same size or exactly the same shape just as most facial features demonstrate some asymmetry. I always measure ear heights and projection and bring this to the attention of patients preoperatively. It can take up to a year to reach th final result.

Robert L. Kraft, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

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Asymmetry after otoplasty

+1

Usually 3 months after an otoplasty, your results will likely be long-lived.  If you have marked asymmetry, then perhaps a revision is in order.  Slight asymmetries meanwhile are not something that most, if not all, people would notice.  The numbness after otoplasty is usually self-limited and gets better with time.  Chronic pain after otoplasty can be a function of the type of otoplasty you had done and the extent of the projection correction (cartilage excision).   Prolonged inflammation or indolent infection are also concerns.  Always talk to your doctor directly about your issues.

Thomas T. Le, MD
Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Uneven ears after otoplasty.

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Don't worry too much if your ears aren't perfectly symmetrical - nobody's are.  It is natural to sit in front of the mirror and analyse your ears after surgery, but in life, we rarely see people square on.  The ears are very forgiving and you can often have asymmetrical ears, which no one will ever notice.

Obvious if the asymmetry is significant, or if it is really bothering you, you can have a revision, but I would live with them for a while and see how you get on.

Jonathan J. Staiano, FRCS (Plast)
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Three months after otoplasty

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At 3 months, you have likely achieved nearly 90% of your final results. Some generalized laxity and scar maturation may produce softening of the scars with less tenderness and may take up to 2 years.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Otoplasty and healing

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In general the healing process for almost any surgery can take up to a year and sometimes longer.  Granted, the majority of healing and swelling dissipates within a few weeks, but it can last for months.  The numbness usually improves over time.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Otoplasty and the healing process

+1

It can take up to one year for the final appearance of the ears to be the same and for all of the swelling and the discomfort to resolve from the surgery. That being said if one is overly pinned than the other, this may have to be corrected if it does not spring out over the next three months or so.

Scott Trimas, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Asymmetry Following Otoplasty

+1

The asymmetric pain and tingling sensations that you note are not that unusual for 3 months out from otoplasty. These symptoms should resolve on their own over the next few months. With regard to asymmetric appearance of the ears at 3 months, it is likely what you see is sort of what you get at this point. It is not uncommon for the ears to look slightly different following otoplasty as long as the difference is not too obvious. If so, sometimes a quick office-based revision will be all that is needed to create sufficient symmetry where you are happy. In other cases, a more involved revisionary procedure is needed. Much of this depends on what your ears looked like originally and what was done to them during the otoplasty.

John M. Hilinski, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Otoplasty and Asymmetry

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One of the biggest challenges of otoplasty is creating symmetry post procedure.  Generally speaking, caliper measurements of the superior, middle, and inferior portion of the ear both pre procedure and post procedure allow the surgeon an objective means of adjusting the degree of "pinning" the ears back.  At the end of three months, any asymmetry seen is likely to persist.  Improvement in asymmetry may range from a simple office procedure to a a complete revision of your ear.

Anil R. Shah, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.