Ear reshaping, or otoplasty, is the surgical reconstruction of the outer portion of the ear to improve its overall appearance. Patients have different reasons for getting the surgery. One thing is clear, however. Patients opting for this surgery want to have ears that complement their faces. Having large ear lobes, prominent or droopy ears, and other imperfections can cause people to become self-conscious.
The surgery can help improve the shape, contours, and proportions of the ear that is suited for you. Otoplasty can “set back” ears that can stand out or reduce the size of ears to bring them in line with the rest of the face. Ready to take the first step in correcting this issue? Dr. Stanley Poulos, Dr. Yngvar Hvistendahl, and Dr. Trent Douglas are a team of board-certified plastic surgeons at our beautiful, state-of-the-art surgery center in Marin County. To arrange a consultation, contact PSS Plastic Surgery or call (415) 886-0777. We proudly serve the northern areas of San Francisco Bay.
Otoplasties can sometimes be referred to as cosmetic ear surgery. These reconstructive surgeries improve the size, shape, or position of the outer ear by reshaping the cartilage. It can be performed at any age after the ears have stopped growing, which usually happens by age 5 or 6.  Typical procedures involve correcting ears that stick out to decrease their projection. Ear surgery may also be a good option for patients wanting to correct a birth defect that affects the shape of the ear cartilage or lobe. The outer portion of the ear has cartilage that is covered in our skin. It develops just before birth and continues developing in the years after we’re born. If the outer portion doesn’t develop properly, you may choose to have otoplasty to correct the size, positioning, or shape of your ears.
There are several different types of otoplasty: 
- Ear augmentation: Reserved for patients with smaller ears or ears that haven’t completely developed. This method is meant to increase the size of their outer ear.
- Ear pinning: Involves drawing the ears closer to the head and performed on individuals whose ears stick out from the sides of their heads.
- Ear reduction: Patients with larger than normal ears may choose to have this done as this reduces the size of the ears.
What Causes Ears To Become Prominent?
Usually, our ears sit at a 21 to 30-degree angle.  Angles above 30 cause the ear to appear like it’s sticking out. Our genetics and health condition regulate the amount of cartilage grown in our ears, but an injury or accident could also determine the ear’s shape as well.
- Over 50,000 procedures performed
- Over 75 years of combined experience
Our experienced team of surgeons combine an aesthetic perspective, the ability to listen closely to your needs, and the skills to achieve those desires. This combination of talent is a hallmark of a world-class plastic surgery clinic, located in Marin County, CA.
Before and After Photos
Otoplasty is an outpatient procedure that offers minimal scarring and long-lasting results. Children and adults opting for the procedure no longer have to suffer from the social stigma of large or misshapen ears. Patients have also noticed:
- Increased self-confidence
- Improved facial features
- Permanent results
- Safe procedure
- Enhanced quality of life
Both young people and adults have seen dramatic benefits from the surgery. The minimum age for otoplasty is between the ages 5 and 6 years old. This is when ears are 90 percent developed.  All candidates should be physically healthy and have realistic expectations for what they are looking to achieve. Regardless of age, individuals challenged with protruding ears that are asymmetrical with the rest of their face should consider an ear reshaping procedure as a viable solution. Candidates looking to correct the following also benefit greatly:
- Correct asymmetrical ears
- Improve the appearance of natural ear folds and creases
- Correct ‘lop ear’ where the tip folds down or forward
- Increase ear lobes size
- Enhance the appearance of ears after injury or accident
Our medical staff will direct you on specific instructions to follow to ensure a pleasant experience. You may be asked to stop taking certain medications and supplements such as ibuprofen. Be prepared to stop eating and drinking eight hours before surgery. Arrange to take a few days off from work or school. Smokers are advised to stop two weeks before surgery to avoid complications. You should also arrange for a loved one or care buddy to drive and care for you the first day after surgery.
On the day of your procedure, please wash your hair thoroughly and wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes. Women should not wear makeup and accessories. Patients with long hair should either pin or braid their hair.
Your consultation at our state-of-the-art office in Greenbrae is your opportunity to learn how otoplasty can transform your life. Our team of experts has dedicated their lives to the medical field and offers countless years of experience in changing people’s lives. Dr. Poulos, Dr. Douglas, or Dr. Hvistendahl will address your questions or concerns in a frank and compassionate way. During your consultation, we’ll ask you questions about your medical history and examine your ears. Once we understand your specific goals, your surgeon will design a personalized treatment and determine the specifics of your procedure. You’ll be given specific instructions on how to prepare for your ear reshaping procedure and the healing process. To learn more about the other services we offer, follow our blog.
Ear surgery is an outpatient procedure that may take 2-3 hours to complete, depending on the extent of the condition. During your time with us, you will be resting comfortably to maximize your relaxation. The surgical team of PSS Plastic Surgery will start the process by creating a small incision behind or inside the ear to minimize scarring. Since the procedure is highly customized, cartilage will either be removed, folded, or stitched in a way that compliments your facial features.  The procedure concludes when the areas are stitched back together with sutures. Bandages will be wrapped around your head to allow your ears to heal and to ensure the integrity of the results. They will be removed in a week.
Arrange for a loved one or a trusted friend to drive you home and take care of you the first day after surgery. We’ll give you specific instructions on after-care including how to take care of your ears and any medications to take. Patients may feel discomfort and an itching sensation in the ears. This will subside in a week as we will prescribe medication to manage the discomfort. Do not sleep on your sides for about a week as this may cause excessive pressure on the ears. Also, try wearing loose-fitted collared clothing during your recovery.
Your bandages will be removed in a week. The ears may be a little swollen and red. Scarring may not be noticeable as they are made behind the ears. However, whatever scarring is left will eventually fade in due time.
You will notice changes immediately when your bandages are removed. Your newly contoured ears will no longer protrude and will be better fitted to your overall appearance. The newly improved earlobes may be at an optimized size and shape. Thanks to the countless years of experience of PSS Plastic Surgery, patients will leave feeling a new sense of self-confidence and renewed outlook.
How Much Does Otoplasty Cost in the Bay Area?
The final cost of the surgery will depend on several factors. At your initial consultation, our friendly staff will discuss the surgical details, including the cost. We strive to make cosmetic plastic surgery attainable for each one of our patients. We understand pricing can be a determining factor in seeking treatment. PSS Plastic Surgery in Greenbrae offers easy and affordable financing options to fit your needs. Be sure to look at the specials we run periodically to take advantage of lucrative savings.
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No, otoplasty is strictly a cosmetic procedure, not a medical one. It will not affect your hearing.
The procedure usually lasts up to 2-3 hours, depending on the complexity of the case.
We advise children to take off a week from school. Adults can return to work in a few days. Please avoid strenuous activities for about two months after surgery.
- Foustanos, A., Messinis, L., & Panagiotopoulos, K. (2012). Comparison of otoplasty results using different types of suturing techniques. Acta Chirurgiae Plasticae, 54(1), 3–7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23170940/
- Kennedy, K. L., & Katrib, Z. (2020, April 10). Otoplasty. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538320/
- September 2003 – Volume 14 – Issue 5: Journal of Craniofacial Surgery. (n.d.). ; Journal of Craniofacial Surgery. Retrieved June 20, 2021, from https://journals.lww.com/jcraniofacialsurgery/Abstract/2003/09000/Otoplasty__Evaluation
- Solutions, T. K., ISG. (2021, March 21). American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. https://www.aafprs.org/Consumers/Procedures/FacialRejuvenation/Ear/A/FR3.aspx