Otoplasty Recovery. Protruding After Dressings Removal?

I had otoplasty 1 week ago. I wore a dressing all week, which was removed today and I'm now wearing a sports head-band, which I've been told to wear at night for the next 4-6 weeks. The sutures are still in place and I presume they'll dissolve soon. When I removed the dressing the ears look great, however after a few minutes the left ear protrudes slightly more than the right, which was never the case before surgery. Will wearing the head-band correct this whilst the ears are still healing?

Doctor Answers 6

Asymmetry One Week After Otoplasty

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I completely understand your concern.  I am sure you have lived so many years with ears that stuck so much out and you did not like their appearance.  Now you have gone through surgery and a week of recovery, and you want it all over with.  Unfortunately, nature's healing of an injured area is to make it swell.  Your plastic surgeon has given you a post operative regiment to follow.  I would follow it to the "T".  You trusted him or her with your life and your looks.  You need to just trust a little while longer and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.  Even a few millimeters difference is frustrating, but this amount of final asymmetry is completely normal, so keep a positive attitude and give time, time.

It is too soon to evaluate the final otoplasty result at one week - please be patient

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It is too soon to evaluate the final otoplasty result at one week - please be patient. There can be asymmetric swelling behind the ears that can distort the actual result. If one side has more swelling it will actually push that ear out. I would suggest you discuss these concerns with your surgeon but continue with your post-operative regimen and wear the head band. A small amount of asymmetry is the rule after otoplasty. The result is never "perfect" but is usually a huge improvement over the shape and protrusion of the ears that existed before surgery.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Early otoplasty results

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As with any surgery it is often hard to see changes when swelling is present.  I typically perform otoplasty in an office setting.  I immediately show patients their result so that they can see how the ear will look, albeit with early swelling.  Most otoplasty patients look pretty good within a few days, but it takes 3-6 months to see many of the subtle changes and swelling to subside.

Anil R. Shah, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 181 reviews

Otoplasty Recovery

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Thank you for your question.

At this point in your recovery, it is too soon to evaluate the final results.  You may find that both ears may change during the next few weeks-months.

I would recommend that you do not evaluate things on a day to day basis as this may cause anxiety.

Keep your follow up appointments with your surgeon.

Best wishes.


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Otoplasty results change after the dressings are removed.  I always photograph my immediate post-operative results to show them.  This eliminates the wait and worry syndrome after surgery.

Robert Shumway, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Ears are Different

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I doubt that there was perfect symmetry prior to surgery and am quite certain that it will not exist after surgery either.  You still have swelling so be patient.  After 6-8 weeks you will have a much better idea about the final outcome.  The headband is for protection and will not change the final appearance of the ears.

S. Randolph Waldman, MD
Lexington Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 19 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.