Safe to Play Contact Sports After Otoplasty?

I want to have my ears pinned back and was wondering if i would still be able to participate in contact sports such as boxing if i had this done?

Doctor Answers 11

Actibity restrictions after otoplasty

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Activity and sports are restricted afer surgery to allow uninterrupted healing in the ears' new positions which are maintained entirely by stitches. AS the healing proceeds, typically for about 6 weeks, activity can be increased and return to normal.

It all depends on how long ago you had Otoplasty

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It all depends on how long ago you had the procedure. Your wound slowly accumulates its previous strength but it will never be as strong as it was. The max strength that you get compared to native untouched skin or tissue is 89%. This is based on studies that test wound strength through tension experiments that test at what point a wound was likely to come a part.

After your procedure, you will gain 60% at 6 weeks, 80% at 6 months, and 88-89% at 2 years. So, it takes a while to regain most of the strength back. This is important to know when you start exercising after your procedure.

Contact sports is okay especially if you wear head gear. There is no exact answer to which contact sport is or is no okay. The more trauma the worst the damage that you can create to your ears. Otoplasty is dependent most of the time from sutures earlier on and then later scarring that holds the ear in place. Trauma early on based on the above information and previous studies is worse than if it happens later.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

Avoid Contact Sports for 6-8 Weeks Following Otoplasty

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It’s not unusual for younger patients who undergo otoplasty to participate in sports.  These patients are usually eager to return to athletics as soon as possible following otoplasty.  In most cases patients are advised to avoid contact sports for 6-8 weeks and non-contact sports for 2 to 3 weeks following otoplasty.

                  Boxing, kick boxing and wrestling represent special situations since the ears can suffer significant trauma with these sports.  For this reason, these sports should not be resumed for 3 to 4 months following surgery and head gear should be worn whenever possible.

                  If you’re an athlete who’s considering otoplasty, it’s important to discuss this issue with your plastic surgeon.  Your surgeon should be able to give you specific information about when it’s safe to participate in sports.

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Contact Sports After Otoplasty

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Each patient will heal differently. Most patients are restricted for 6 weeks, and then the restrictions will ease as the patient heals. Follow the lead of the surgeon.

Contact sports can injure your ear

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Boxing or other sports where direct trauma to the ear is possible can causing hematomas and permanent deformity.  After an Otoplasty I like my patients to refrain from engaging in any activity that may injure the ear for at least 6 weeks.  After that time it is prudent to protect the ear from direct trauma to avoid ear deformity.

Robert Mounsey, MD
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon

Contact sports and otoplasty

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After otoplasty it is a good idea to avoid getting the ears smacked for a month or so. This typically means no boxing, wrestling, cage fighting, etc. Long-term the ears are fine for any kind of sport.

Contact sports yes, boxing no

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If you are going to go through the time, energy and costs of having an otoplasty, the worst thing you could do afterwards is have someone potentially directly strike the ear. At the very least this will certainly cause a distortion of the ear, and at worst, completely destroy the otoplasty.

Other sports like soccer, basketball, etc, are fine after a few months, but I would recommend no more boxing if you have this procedure done.

Avoid contact sports at least 1-2 months after ear surgery

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Thank you for your question.

Contact sports or any activity that could damage your ears should be avoided for at least one to two months. In a high contact sport such as boxing, you may want to give it even more time to avoid the risk of damaging your ears.

Ultimately, there is always a risk with boxing of ear trauma since it is quite a violent sport.

Thanks for your question. Have a great day!

Best regards,

Dr. Speron

Sam Speron, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon


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You will want to wait a few months to allow full healing.  Premature injury to the ears after otoplasty could damage the repair with little to correct it.  Your surgeon will guide you.


Permanent otoplasty sutures can break during contact sports

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I agree with Dr. Waldman. I would just add that contact sports can lead to more than just suture breakage. Revision surgery is not always as successful as the first procedure and it is best to avoid it, if possible. 

Kevin Ende, MD
Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.