Facial Procedures Performed » Ear Surgery a.k.a. Otoplasty

Ear Surgery by Seattle Plastic Surgeon Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

Procedure Illustrations

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Otoplasty (Ear Pinning) for Prominent Ears

I will never forget the day one of my school buddies in 2nd grade (he’s now a big shot business guy in Seattle) came back to school after having his ears “pinned.”   He had a smile on his face a mile wide and ears that were, well, normal.  Otoplasty is often done once the ears have reached adult size, usually age 6 – 8, but I see quite a few adults did not have correction in childhood.  My oldest patient was in her late 60’s and was thrilled to finally be able to wear her hair pulled back.  It’s never too late to have nice ears!

Quick Facts

  • Cost: About $4500 for one ear and $6800 for both ears, depending on the extent and length of the procedure.
  • How much it hurts:  Quite a bit.  Ear cartilage is very, very sensitive.  But I’ll make sure you have good pain medication.
  • Time of work or school:  Usually 1 week.  I ask you to wear a head band for the first week.
  • Time until driving again:  Usually 1 week or until you are off that good pain medication.
  • Time off the gym:  About 2 – 3 weeks.
  • Time off the slopes:  About 3 weeks if you promise to wear your helmet.
  • Time off the kite board:  About 6 weeks.
  • Time off the head phones:  About three weeks because you will be tender.  You may be able to go back to ear buds a little sooner.
  • How long it lasts:  Usually forever.
  • Patient satisfaction:  High.

Prominent ears usually are lacking a normal fold and sometimes have a very deep choncha (or bowl).  This prevents the ears from laying flat against the head. This can be an embarrassment for both children and adults. Otoplasty is a procedure that helps restore the normal shape and position of the ear. An incision is made along the back of the ear, the choncha is made more shallow and a fold is created with stitches in the ear cartilage. The resultant scar along the back of the ear will be noticed only by the patients hairdresser or barber.

I usually perform otoplasty in my AAAASF certified Seattle office operating room with local anesthetic and intravenous sedation. There is pain and swelling for about a week postoperatively. Patients need to wear a headband day and night for one week to assist with shaping the ears and then continue to wear the headband at night for another 2 weeks.

The benefit of the surgery is usually long lasting.

To schedule a consultation with me, please call 206 467-1101.