Ear surgery, also known as an otoplasty, is a cosmetic surgery designed to alter the size and shape of a patient’s ears. Performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon, an otoplasty is a safe and effective way to restructure your ear and restore a more harmonious balance to your facial features.
Plastic surgeons recommend ear surgery to patients who have:
- Protruding ears
- A misshapen ear due to injury
- A desire to change the position of their ears
- A defect in the structure of their ear
What to Expect From Your Ear Surgery Recovery
An ear surgery is a relatively simple and safe procedure and most often, it’s done on an outpatient basis, meaning that you will not have to stay overnight at the hospital.
This procedure does have a significant recovery period and while you may be excited to see your new ears, it’s important to follow your plastic surgeon’s post-surgical care instructions to ensure the safest, most aesthetically pleasing results.
Immediately after ear surgery
Once your surgery is completed, your ears will be individually covered with small dressings, which are typically worn for one week.
Your surgeon Australian ear surgery specialist from Sydney Dr Zurek may advise you to wear a tennis headband at night time (for at least 2 months) and during any contact sports. This is to prevent your ears from being pushed forward while they’re still setting.
- During this recovery period, you should be aware of a number of things including:
- It’s normal to experience some discomfort following the surgery.
- While you’re at the hospital, your surgeon may prescribe a mild analgesic such as paracetamol. AVOID ASPIRIN at this time.
- After 7 days, once your dressings are removed, you may see some bruising and swelling. This is temporary and should resolve within 1-2 weeks. During this time, the improvement in your ears will be noticeable.
- Numbness during the recovery period is common but temporary. The sensation in your ears will eventually return to normal.
- Some patients may experience a mild infection around the stitch line. In this case, make an appointment with your plastic surgeon. They should be able to resolve it quickly for you.
- RARE: Occasionally, a small blood vessel will leak after the ear surgery is complete. While very rare, this bleeding may necessitate a return to the hospital theatre.
When can I enjoy my new results?
While you may immediately notice the improvement in the shape and position of your ears, it will take up to 2 months for them to fully ‘set in’ and heal. However, most patients are able to return to work during the first 5-7 days after ear surgery but are advised to avoid contact sports for at least 4 weeks after the procedure.
Ear Surgery Recovery Tips
When administered by a board-certified plastic surgeon, ear surgery can produce safe, dramatic results which are long lasting. However, the recovery period is VERY IMPORTANT for optimal results.
Getting enough rest and following these tips will ensure that your recovery period goes smoothly and quickly as possible:
- Avoid bending over or carrying heavy items for at least 3 weeks.
- Do not blow your nose hard or play a wind instrument for at least 1 month.
- Keep the affected ear dry and avoid hair washing until the external wound has healed.
- Avoid swimming until your plastic surgeon tells you it’s safe to do so.
- To limit any discomfort, avoid lying or sleeping on the affected side.
- Keep your head cool, especially when the bandages are being worn.
- Keep your head elevated to minimise swelling (use several pillows to keep you lifted while you sleep).
- Apply any ointment/medicine given to you for your scars to allow them to heal properly and ensure they won’t be visible.
- Have patience & realistic expectations of the outcome of your ear surgery.
If you have any complications or have any questions or concerns regarding your recovery, speak with your plastic surgeon immediately. They will be able to offer any further advice regarding your specific concerns and needs.