Otoplasty Recovery Time

What was your recovery time after an otoplasty? How long did it take to heal from the ear surgery? 

Doctor Answers 42

Otoplasty Recovery

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There are various phases during the recovery process of a well executed otoplasty performed by a surgeon with expertise in ear reshaping:

  • First 24 hours- Patient wears a mild compressive garment on the head.  Patient ear appear larger and more swollen than ideal
  • 24 to 72 hours- Patient wears headband over ears as much as possible.  Majority of swelling begins to dissipate
  • 72 hours to First Week- Some patients will be able to return to work depending on their hairstyle and comfort with swelling in ear and duties at work
  • First Week to Second Week- Most patients feel comfortable in social situations with ears
  • Three Months-Swelling Completely subsided

Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 177 reviews

Otoplasty Montreal Recovery Time

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Thank you for your question

At my practice I offer 3 types of anesthesia:
  • Pure local anesthesia, for which an analgesic product is locally injected to ensure the insensitivity of the ears.
  • Local anesthetic by tranquilizers administered intravenously.
  • Classis general anesthesia during which the patient is completely asleep.

The choice between these different techniques will be the result of a discussion between you, the anesthesiologist and myself. Surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis. Your recovery will vary according to what anaesthesia you chose.

Pain is very mild. The dressing will be removed at the end of the first week. The ears will appear swollen and bruised. A hand band will then be worn for two additional weeks. Showering is allowed at the end of the first week. Contact sports must be avoided. Cold hypersensitivity is common for a few months.

A few months of healing are necessary before results are stable. Scars will remain pink for about six months. The new shape of the ear is usually permanent but slight recurrence of the deformity is possible.

Hope this helped. Best of luck,

Otoplasty Recovery

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Otoplasty or ear pinning is most typically done on children over the age of 6, but can be done on adults as well.  The procedure takes only about 45 minutes per side, and can be done in the office under local anesthesia in adults and in the operating room under sedation for children.  

The results are quite life-changing for most patients.  Post-operatively, here's what to expect:

  • Typically a compressive bandage is placed at the completion of the surgery
  • Then, a looser dressing is placed for another week.
  • A headband is worn at night while sleeping for the next 4-6 weeks.
  • light head band (like ski band around their ears for one to two weeks.
  • No lifting or carrying anything more than 10 pounds for 2 weeks.
  • No strenuous activity for 2 weeks.
  • The ear must stay dry for one week.
  • Results are very obvious once the dressing is removed, but some swelling can last for 6 weeks or more.
All the best,
Dr. Michelle Yagoda

Michelle R. Yagoda, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon

Ear Reshaping (Otoplasty) Recovery Time and Care

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Otoplasty or ear reshaping is one of the most rewarding plastic surgery procedure for both the patient and the surgeon.

Below is my protocol that I have found to lead to good and predictable results:

  • Typically we place a compressive bandage on the ear for 24 hours and patients are encouraged to wear a light head band (like ski band around their ears for one to two weeks.
  • Typically the sutures are resorbable and do not need to be removed.
  • Usually patient can do their activity of daily living. No heavy activities for few weeks.
  • Patients can go back to work in a few days.
  • Generally satisfactory healing and assessment of results at 3 months.
  • The results are very obvious quickly after surgery once the dressing is removed.
  • Revisions are possible but rare.

Hope this is helpful.

Dr. Sajjadian

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 205 reviews

Recovery After Ear Surgery

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Recovery after ear surgery depends on the problem to be treated, what was done, the skill of you doctor, after surgery care, ear dressing, and other factors best discussed during a consultation. My patients are up and about the day of surgery. Bouncing, bending the head down below the level of the heart, and vigerous activities evolve over time. Patients are usually back to light work the week of surgery. Comfort is the guide nature provides as to what the body can do.

Start by Minimizing Swelling and Bruising
I prefer techniques with minimial swelling and bruising. This is something best demonstrated with pictures at different times after surgery showing the evolution of tissues. Choosing a doctor who shows such pictures will give you a better idea of the typical problem that doctor's sculpture creates.

Continue with Ear Protection
A formal ear dressing after surgery helps protect the ears early after surgery. How long depends on what was done. For a normal ear pinback, this dressing is needed for 1-5 days after surgery. We typically change this dressing the day after surgery and every other day until it is not needed. For some patient, I then use a head band to protect the ears when sleeping. When done right, the maximum swelling occurs the day of surgery.

Patient Education Key
A well informed patient is key to a quick recovery. That is why for our patients we put so much information on the web so they can better understand what surgery offers, limitations after surgery, and other details to make their recovery easier.

Hope this helps.

Michael Bermant, MD (retired)
Virginia Plastic Surgeon

Otoplasty Recovery Time

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Otoplasty recovery time is relatively quick.  After correction has been achieved, a compressive head dressing is applied which encompasses the ears.  The patient is discharged to home the same day as the procedure.  The following day, the dressing is removed in the office.  All patients are instructed ahead of time to bring an athletic headband in for this first appt.  The headband is worn with it covering the ears (not behind the ears) all the time except for when bathing for the first week postop.  During this first week the ears have swelling in the skin which is noticeable.  At the end of the first week, the headband is only worn at night, and at this point swelling is minimal.  Postoperative pain is little if any, because the surgery is performed on cartilage (which has no nerve endings) and skin.

Hope you found this answer helpful.  All the best!

Burke Robinson, MD, FACS
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Otoplasty recovery time

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Otoplasty is a surgery done to pin back protruding ears.  It can be done through an incision behind the ear or with an incision less technique. 

Usually there is some pain and soreness for the first few days.  I prefer placing a compressive dressing for the first 24 hours.  This can be a little bit tight,  after it is removed, a softer headband type dressing is used to protect the ears and as a gentle reminder to keep them in position.  After about 1 week or so, the patient can wear a headband around the ears just at night.  There is usually some pain and soreness and possibly some swelling the first few days.  I ask all patients to refrain from exercise for the first 2 weeks after surgery.  The ears will be sensitive to touch for several weeks.  

Catherine Weng, MD
Denver Otolaryngologist
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Otoplasty recovery timeline

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The recovery timeline for otoplasty:

  • Immediately after surgery, there will be a compressive dressing over the ear(s) and a small rubber band drain. The drain comes out after 1 day, the compressive dressing stays on for 3 days.
  • After the compressive dressing is removed, a tennis type headband is worn for 2 weeks continuously. The ears will remain bruised for up to 2 weeks.
  • Skin sutures are removed at 1 week.
  • The headband is worn at night before sleep for another 2 months.
  • Exercise is permissible at 3 weeks.

Hope this helps,

Mehdi Sina, MD

Mehdi Sina, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon

Otoplasty Recovery Time

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Otoplasty recovery time and instructions will vary from surgeon to surgeon.

In my practice, patients are wrapped with protective dressing for the first night after surgery, which is then removed the following day. They are then instructed to clean the incisions carefully and to wear a protective headband at all times other than showering for the first two weeks. After two weeks, the headband should be worn at night when sleeping for at least the first four weeks. After six weeks, they can resume all normal activities, always being mindful that getting hit in the ears could do damage to the sutures under the skin holding things in place.

No strenuous activity, heavy lifting, or exercise is allowed for the first two weeks after surgery.

There will be some swelling present that can take many months to resolve completely, but most patients are feeling quite comfortable about getting out in public by about two weeks after surgery (and much sooner than two weeks in many cases).

All the best,

Matthew Richardson, MD
Frisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Otoplasty recovery time

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Recovery time from on otoplasty usually lasts approximately two weeks. The ears tend to stay red, purple and swollen for a two-week period time after the procedure. An Otoplasty procedure is performed under local anesthesia as an outpatient procedure.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 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.