Otoplasty (Ear Surgery)

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Ear deformities come in several shapes and sizes. Some ears are normally shaped, but protrude further from the head than is normal. This may happen on one or both sides and may happen from either overgrowth of the cartilage of the ear or excessive bone formation behind the ear. This is often a familial trait. Another common deformity of the ear is when the ear fails to fold naturally during development. This causes the antihelix to be flat and the upper portion of the ear to become cupped.


Other less common defects may also occur. At times, the rim of the ear is abnormally shaped or the ear will be of an abnormal size. Knobs of abnormal cartilage may form as well. All of these defects may be improved with otoplasty which reshapes cartilage to help with overall appearance or how the ears are positioned.


When is it best to perform surgery?

A child’s ear is almost fully grown by the age of 5 or 6. Performing surgery at this time is ideal because cartilage is still soft which makes the ear easier to reshape and may result in a shorter healing time. Children at this age are also just about entering school and can have the procedure done before potential peer abuse may occur. Though this is the ideal age, the surgery is very successful at any age including into adulthood.


What should I expect?

Otoplasty may be done under local anesthesia in an adult, but for a child or someone who is anxious about surgery, sedation may be used. After a local anesthetic is infiltrated, a small ellipse of skin is removed from behind the ear. Through this incision, the ear cartilage is weakened and reshaped with sutures or re-positioned on the skull itself. Skin sutures are removed in approximately seven days.


Following surgery, a pressure dressing is placed on the ear, which must be left in place for five to seven days. When this dressing is removed and the sutures are removed, a compression dressing or ACE wrap should be worn on the ears at night. This is to avoid any accidental injury of the ears while sleeping. Pain is minimal following surgery and if any significant pain occurs, it should be reported immediately to your doctor. Contact sports should be avoided for approximately six weeks but regular exercise may be resumed once the sutures are removed.


Ear cartilage tends to have a “memory” and will occasionally spring-back to some degree over time. It is important that you continue to follow up with your surgeon to ensure the improvement is long lasting.


Deciding to Schedule

You will be given a surgical quote at your consultation with Dr. Finn as well as any clearance forms required. Should you decide to schedule the procedure with Dr. Finn you will contact our patient care coordinator, Shannon Jones. At this time, you will pick a procedure date that works for both you and Dr. Finn. At this time a $500.00 non-refundable surgery booking fee will be paid to reserve this day on Dr. Finn’s schedule. Once the surgery date is set we back track 2 weeks prior and schedule a pre-operative appointment.


Pre Op

At your pre-op you will have ample time with Dr. Finn to discuss your upcoming procedure in great detail and have all your questions answered. You will bring the required clearance forms to this visit unless we have already received them. We will review all pre and post-operative care, prescribed medications and any provisions we may give you for use pre- and post-surgery. You will review and sign the consent for surgery and the balance will be due at the conclusion of this appointment.


What should I avoid before surgery?

It is vitally important to avoid all blood thinning medications/supplements for 2 weeks prior to surgery. This includes any aspirin or aspirin-containing products as well as any anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen or naproxen (including Motrin, Aleve and Advil). It is generally fine to be take Tylenol (Acetaminophen). Avoid supplements such as Vitamin E including multi vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids such as fish oil and flax seed oil. You will be given a complete list of medications/supplements to avoid at your pre-op. All these medications can contribute to bleeding problems following surgery and can increase the amount of bruising.

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Otoplasty (Ear Surgery)

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