I Have Heard that Otoplasty is Very Painful to Recover From, is this True?

I have heard stories from friends who have had this procedure and read online that an otoplasty is one of the most painful cosmetic procedures, particularly after surgery. I am just wondering whether or not this is true. I find it difficult to believe as i know that many children below the age of 10 get this procedure done.

Doctor Answers 23

Otoplasty Surgery - Recovery

Thank you for your question,
Pain is very mild post surgery. (pain killers are always prescribed in case they are needed)
The dressing that was put on after your surgery 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.
Children, as well as adults usually respond positively post surgery. Best of luck to you,

Montreal Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Pain after otoplasty

What my patient`s tell me is they typically require narcotic pain medication the first night after otoplasty. At the end of the otoplasty I inject a long-acting local anesthetic and this provides very good pain relief for several hours. I send my patients home with a gauze wrap around the head that is removed the following morning. This seems to help the postoperative discomfort. For the next 10 days I ask the patients to wear an elastic head wrap (like a sweatband) except when they are showering. I think this helps prevent accidental bumping of the ears while they are still tender. Sleeping can be a challenge and if the patient can sleep on their back that is preferable. If patients are still having discomfort after the second or third day I will recommend using ibuprofen. At that point I think the chance of having bleeding is greatly decreased and the addition of ibuprofen can be very helpful.

Jerold Olson, MD
Tucson Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Otoplasty recovery

As you noted, many children have this procedure and do just fine with the recovery. No matter what your age you will need pain medications for a few days and then maybe just at night. The ears will be tender, like a bruise, and swollen for the first week or two. Most patients are up and around the first day, showering after the bandages are off at 48hrs, and back to work or school in 4 or 5 days. My patients tell me it is less painful than they expected.

James A. Hoffman, MD
Saint Paul Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Otoplasty Recovery

An otoplasty should not be a painful procedure and the recovery should be quite straight forward with little pain.  Usually all that will be required for pain medication is one of the NSAIDS like Aleve or Motrin.  

After an otoplasty with a rapid recovery protocol, there is a head dressing that is placed at the time of surgery.  The next day, the dressing is removed and all that is required is a loosely fitting head band at light so that you do not catch an ear and fold it over when you are sleeping for a about a week or so.

I hope that helps.

Best  regards.

Brian Windle, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Pain after Ear Pin back surgery - I heard it is very painful

Pain responses vary from patient to patient.
Typically the Surgeon will use a lot of Local Anaesthetic before and after the operation that will numb the area.
Long acting local anaesthetics are preferred and they can last for a good 12 hours post op. This helps with the pain.
I give all my patients a long acting Intra venous analgesia at the time of the Surgery that acts for 18 hours.
You will have tablets to take after the Surgery and they include simple pain killers and some narcotics and anti inflammatory tablets. So we leave no stone unturned when it comes to your pain.

Naveen Somia, MBBS, PhD, FRACS
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

PostOperative Healing Following Otoplasty: Pain Varies From Patient to Patient

Post-operative pain varies from patient to patient with any surgical procedure.  Although there’s pain associated with otoplasty, most patients wouldn’t consider it severe.  The majority of patients take narcotic pain relievers for 24 to 48 hours.  At this point, the majority switch to Tylenol.  In most cases, patients have resumed their normal routine in about 7 to 10 days and are effectively pain free.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Otoplasty Recovery: What You Should Know

Thank you for your question. The actual Otoplasty procedure is not very painful at all. We perform them in my practice in my office using local anesthesia. The procedure takes about an hour.

That being said, there usually is a moderate amount of discomfort (pain) the first one or two nights of recovery. Most patients tolerate this well using prescription pain medications. I tell my patients to expect some discoloration and swelling after otoplasty. I also recommend they take a couple of days off work as they'll need to wear a turban-like dressing to protect the ears for the next 2 to 3 days. Sutures are removed in 5 to 7 days. You'll need to wear an exercise headband over your ears when you sleep for the next month. In about 3 to 4 weeks, you can expect to be 75% recovered, and full recovery is usually reached in 2 to 3 months.

I think it would be helpful for you to hear about an experience from an actual otoplasty patient. Watch the above testimonial from my YouTube Channel for more insight and be sure to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in otoplasty surgery.

David C. Mabrie, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 105 reviews

Otoplasty Pain and Recovery

Depending on your specific healing process, pain levels range but can be managed well with the right care. Make sure that you choose a board certified facial plastic surgeon who has expertise in performing otoplasties. After the procedure, you should have dressings applied to aid in healing and comfort. Sleeping on your back is also best as sleeping on your sides can affect your healing. Wearing a headband that your surgeon provides may also be an option to hold the ears in the desired position for a few weeks after the procedure. Pain medications and/or anesthetics will help with the pain immediately after your surgery and throughout the healing process.

Carlo P. Honrado, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Otoplasty surgery and pain

Since everyone has a different threshold of pain, the level of discomfort will vary from patient to patient.  It is true that many children undergo Otoplasty surgery (some as young as 5 years old) and tolerate it well.  During surgery, general anesthesia is administered for young children and local anesthesia for young kids and adults.  Rest assured that your ears will be completely numb so you won’t feel any pain.  After surgery, I often prescribe a mild to moderate pain reliever and an antibiotic to reduce the chance of infection.  With any surgery, it is always important to outweigh the potential risks versus the benefits.  I hope this helps!  

Paul L. Leong, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Otoplasty Pain and the Recovery Process

Otoplasty can be a painful procedure just like any other procedure in the head and neck area. There are ways to make this better for patients afterward. The type of anesthesia that is done can sometimes help. Longer acting local anesthetics injected after wards can allow your oral pain medication to build up in your system and keep your pain under control and avoid the peaks and valleys with pain medications.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 84 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.