Otoplasty is the Surgeon’s name for the operation to shape and/or ‘set back’ the ears closer to the head. This term also describes procedures to improve the appearance of ears damaged by injury or tumour removal.

Excessively prominent ears cause a lot more emotional distress than is generally realised. Because the visual aesthetic and psychological improvement following surgery is usually dramatic, it is a most rewarding procedure for the patient, the parents and the surgeon.

The operation is best undertaken in the pre-school age group to avoid the likelihood of peer group teasing. This means that the parents must make the decision for elective surgery on behalf of their child but as the condition of prominent ear is a dominant inherited trait, then usually at least one parent has suffered the emotional trauma that they wish to avoid for their child. This makes the decision much easier.

Many adults also seek Otoplasty surgery, often after many years of longing to have had their ears ‘done’. Some even express anger that the correction was denied them as a child.


Dr Wallace recommends Otoplasty for the following reasons:

  • Excessive prominence of one or both ears
  • Malposition of one or both ears
  • Congenitally deformed and ‘cupped’ ears
  • An ear deformed by tumour removal


This surgery is associated with a very low risk of complications. The specific risks of Otoplasty of which you should be aware are:

  • Infection is rare but shows as pain and fever. Antibiotics would then be necessary
  • Numbness of the outer rim of the ear is common and temporary. The nerves cut by the incision usually grow back completely
  • Incomplete or unsatisfactory correct of the ear deformity is uncommon. A revision procedure can always be done


General Anaesthesia is the routine for this operation. Anaesthetic sleep time is approximately 60 minutes followed by 45 minutes in the Recovery Room.


Dr Wallace performs the Otoplasty via an incision behind the ear. Buried permanent sutures hold the ear in its new shape or position. Dissolving stitches close the incision and a large padded bandage gives the support and protection for the ‘new’ ears.


The need for pain relief is minimal and paracetamol is often sufficient. Many patients do not stay in hospital and go home the same day.

Dr Wallace arranges either to visit you at the hospital early the following morning or at an office appointment. Removal of the bandage allows checking of the ears. Moderate swelling and bruising will be seen but the new shape and position of the ears is apparent. For young children, Dr Wallace re-bandages the ears but for others, he leaves them uncovered. All patients are required to wrap the ears at night for 2 weeks.

Ann office appointment with Dr Wallace is scheduled for one week later. The cost of this appointment and a review at 6 weeks is included in the surgical fee.


The vast majority of patients will be excited and very happy with their ‘new’ ears. They will have a dramatic appearance change for the better and will be pleased to show off and stop hiding their ears.