Ear Corrections (Ostoplasty) – What is the Procedure Like?

By: Dr. J. Timothy Katzen

Otoplasty is a surgical procedure that reshapes the pinna (outer ear) in order to improve its appearance and correct deformities. Sometimes, Dr. Katzen performs reconstructive ear surgery to build up the outer ear to fix a congenital deformity or sometimes he corrects ear deformities caused by an accident. Dr. Katzen also performs cosmetic procedures to pin back your ears to make them look better.

Ears that stick out or protrude more than 2 centimeters from the side of your head are considered to be “prominent ears.” Individuals with such ears may face issues with self-esteem and self-confidence, which could severely affect their quality of life. Children who have prominent ears may face bullying in school, which can be dangerous to their mental health. Consequently, otoplasty is more common in children, but patients of all ages can get it done.

Why Should I Consider Getting My Ears Corrected?

Your outer ear, pinna, does not have a major function in your hearing. However, it could affect how you look and feel about yourself. If you feel that your ears are too large or sticking out, you may experience psychological distress and embarrassment. You may also find yourself discouraged from wearing a helmet, headgear, jewelry or other accessories. In addition, you may find yourself wearing clothing and hats to hide your ears.

Children may have difficulty accepting their prominent ears. They may get bullied or teased for having “sticking-out” or “dumbo” ears. This severely harms their emotional well-being, self-confidence and behavior.

How Are Ears Corrected?

There are two main techniques that Dr. Katzen uses to correct protruding ears:

Ear Splinting

Ear splinting is a safe and simple cosmetic procedure that is performed on infants up to 6 months of age. This age limit is crucial for this procedure because it involves the use of molding splints. After 6 months, the child’s ear cartilage becomes too hard to be remodeled using splints.

In this procedure, Dr. Katzen reshapes the soft cartilage of the child with the help of a splint. The splint’s function is to support the ear and keep it in its new position.


In this procedure, Dr. Katzen utilizes otoplasty techniques to reconstruct, correct or replace defective, deformed, or missing portions of the ear. The surgery is performed to remodel to create the missing folds so that the cartilage can be remodeled. This way, the ear can be positioned closer to your head.

To enjoy the best results, this procedure should be performed after the person’s ears have reached their full size. Typically, the ears are fully grown by the age of 5 years.

The two main types of otoplasty are:

  1. Otopexy
    Otopexy is an otoplastic procedure that pins back your ear to give protruding ears a “flattened” look.

  2. Ear Augmentation/ Reconstruction
    Ear augmentation is an otoplastic procedure for patients born with small ears. The medical term for congenital small ears is microtia. In patients with microtia, the small or nonexistent ear is re-created by rearranging the remaining ear tissue and inserting rib and cartilage. Sometimes, a synthetic ear mold is placed underneath the fascia.

Otoplasty: Otopexy

During Otoplasty, your doctor will surgically change the shape, position or size of your ears. Incisions can be made on the backs of the ears, as shown above, or within the inner creases of the ears.

The Surgery and the Recovery

When an otoplasty is performed on children, Dr. Katzen uses general anesthesia. For adults, intravenous sedation, along with local anesthesia, can be used. Then, Dr. Katzen will make a small incision behind your ear. The whole procedure takes between 1-2 hours.

Typically, you may get a thin scar, placed strategically behind your ear so that it is not visible. There’s no need to worry about this scar because most of this scar fades with time.

The post-op instructions are simple and easy to follow, and recovery is quick. You will have to wear bandages for a few days after the surgery. After the bandages are removed, you will have a wear a headband while sleeping. You can resume normal daily activity and exercise within two weeks. Dr. Katzen guides all his patients in detail before he performs the otoplasty procedure, so you can expect to know all the necessary precautions.

Who Should I Consult for My Ear Correction Surgery?

Dr. John Timothy Katzen is a world-renowned, plastic surgeon based in Beverly Hills, CA. With an extensive experience of over 20 years in cosmetic procedures, he is an expert in a range of cosmetic procedures, including ear correction. He offers both surgical and non-surgical procedures, and you can check out the complete list here.

You can visit his office for a consultation session, in which you can discuss any questions or concerns with him. His calm and composed demeanor will help you feel comfortable and relaxed. All the staff at his office is also very attentive and helpful.

When you undergo your ear correction procedure under Dr. Katzen, you will feel well taken care of due to his excellent bedside manner and his soft and caring style. You will receive proper insight and instructions at every stage, from the preparation to the procedure to the recovery. Solid guidance, care and support will ease out the process for you. Not to mention, the amazing results will make your life several times better!

Call Dr. Katzen today at 310-859-7770 to schedule your consultation to fix your ears.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.