Ear correction surgery

Ear correction surgery is cosmetic surgery to modify the shape or size of the ears or pin them back if they stick out.

Pinning back the ears is known as an otoplasty or pinnaplasty. It’s usually carried out on children and young teenagers, though adults may wish to have it done, too.

An otoplasty is not suitable for children younger than five as their ears will still be developing and growing.

How much does it cost?

In the UK, ear correction surgery costs about £2,500-£3,500, plus the cost of any consultations or follow-up care that may be needed.

It would only be approved out on the NHS under exceptional circumstances – for example, in rare cases where a person’s ears are causing them significant psychological suffering.

 What does it involve?

An otoplasty for an older child or adult can be done under local anesthetic by either a plastic surgeon or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) surgeon.

It generally involves:
  • scoring and stitching the remaining structure into the desired shape and position
  • making one small cut (incision) behind the ear to expose the ear cartilage
  • removing small pieces of cartilage if necessary

Side effects to expect

After ear correction surgery, it is common to have:
  • slight bruising around the ears
  • a small scar behind each ear
  • numbness, soreness or tingling in the ears
  • These symptoms should fade over time.

What could go wrong

Ear correction surgery can occasionally result in:
  • inflammation of the ear cartilage
  • stiff ears  – it can take several months for them to become flexible again
  • a blood clot forming in the skin of the ear
  • the surgery not being successful and the ears starting to protrude again
Any type of operation also carries a small risk of:
  • the ears no longer being symmetrical
  • excessive bleeding
  • infection where the cut was made
  • an allergic reaction to the anesthetic

The surgeon should make clear how likely these risks and complications are and how they would be treated if they occurred.

 

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