(Ear Reshaping)

Otoplasty (ear reshaping) can assist where ears are considered too big, uneven or stick out too much.

Also known as otoplasty (ear reshaping) surgery involves reshaping part of the cartilage, so the ears lie closer to the side of the head, and is performed on both children and adults.

People turn to otoplasty to correct a number of issues, such as protruding ears, large conchal bowls (inside the ear), undeveloped ear folds, uneven or undesirable ear shape. These features are often a family trait but can be the result of a developmental problem.

The exact procedure used in your ear reshaping, and the required incision, will differ for everyone, as the method used will depend on the specifics of the problem.

One of most common methods of otoplasty surgery involves making an incision in the back of the ear, allowing Dr Lim access to remove small parts of cartilage and reshape the angle of the ear. This will leave a scar which is usually inconspicuous, hidden by the hair, and likely to fade with time.

Dr Lim will do his best to minimise scarring, and the surgical method and required incision will be discussed with you in the consultation process.

Otoplasty (ear reshaping) surgery is individually customised to each patient depending on their personal requirements — during the consultation period, Dr Lim will take you through all available options and possible outcomes.

Otoplasty is performed under general anaesthetic in an accredited hospital and usually takes about two hours. Your procedure may take longer if it is complex.

Commonly, Dr Lim shapes the cartilage, removing small amounts at a time and bending the ears back toward the patient’s head. It may also be necessary to remove a larger amount of cartilage to keep the fold as natural looking as possible. Even when only one ear is a problem, surgery will likely be performed on both ears for balance, though exact symmetry isn’t likely. Dr Lim is careful not to over pin the ears back, making sure to achieve a more natural result.

Children having this procedure will be required to stay in hospital overnight, while adult patients should be able to return home the day of surgery. Dr Lim will review you post-operatively and will prescribe analgesia and antibiotics for you to continue at home. You will have a bandage around your head for a week after surgery. Please keep this dry and intact.

My Klinik staff will stay in touch with you after the procedure, monitor your progress and answer any questions or concerns as they arise. You’ll have reviews with Dr Lim one week, one month and three months after surgery.

Our goal is to make your experience as supportive as possible — Dr Lim and the My Klinik staff are always willing to answer any questions you may have.

Dr Lim’s 2024 Face and Neck lift Guide

Face & Neck Guide

Pre and Post-Operative Care

  • You must fast prior to your procedure — do not eat, drink (even water) or chew anything for at least six hours before your procedure. The hospital will ring you the day before your procedure to confirm your admission time.
  • If you have a gastric band or sleeve, you will need to have a fluid diet the day before your surgery and fast for at least eight hours on the day of your procedure.
  • Notify Dr Lim of any medications that you are currently taking.
  • Do not take any medication that contains aspirin, or any anti-inflammatory or herbal medication for two weeks before your procedure. Aspirin thins the blood, which can result in unnecessary blood loss during your procedure.
  • Do not smoke for eight weeks before and eight weeks after your procedure. Smoking decreases blood flow to the skin and may delay the healing process or result in tissue loss and unfavourable scars.
  • Do not drink any alcohol for two days before and two days after your procedure as it can interfere with the anaesthetic you will be given on the day.
  • Vitamin C may help reduce your healing time and is recommended for two weeks before and two weeks after surgery.
  • Do not wear any nail polish, make-up or jewellery to the hospital and leave any valuables at home.
  • On the day of surgery, wear comfortable, loose clothing that does not need to be pulled over the head or face. You will also need something loose like a button-through shirt to wear home from the hospital.
  • You will need someone to drive you home from the hospital.
  • Be aware that you won’t be able to wash your hair for one week after surgery.
  • General anaesthetic can take a few days to recover from — it can be quite normal to feel a little slow or out of sorts for a few days. It is recommended that you don’t drive for a week after surgery as you will be drowsy and have bandages on that may obstruct your peripheral vision.
  • While you are in hospital you will be given medication for the pain. The amount of pain you feel after the operation varies from person to person. If you are concerned about the amount of pain you are in, or you feel you cannot control the pain, you should inform the nursing staff while in hospital, or call My Klinik if you are at home.
  • It is crucial that you finish the course of antibiotics you are prescribed to prevent any post-op infection.
  • My Klinik nursing staff will contact you after surgery to make sure that you are feeling comfortable and that you are getting enough pain relief.
  • Do not smoke during your recovery period as this may slow the healing process and affect wound healing.
  • Do not remove any of the bandages around your ears. Dr Lim will remove the bandages at your one-week post-op checkup.
  • Once your bandages have been removed, you will need to wear a head band or sports sweat band to bed for six weeks.
  • Avoid contact sports or any activity that can bend your ears back for six weeks.
  • Do not wear earrings for six weeks to avoid infection.
  • Contact My Klinik if any of the following develop:
    • Bandages become unbearably tight
    • A temperature higher than 38°C or chills
    • Severe pain
    • Bleeding.
  • Dr Lim and the nursing staff are available to you as you recover — should you have any concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact My Klinik. For after-hours concerns, please contact the hospital where you had your surgery and they will be able to contact Dr Lim as required.

Otoplasty (Ear Reshaping) FAQs

If you are basically satisfied with your ear size but have one or more of the following concerns, otoplasty surgery may be an option for you:

  • Ears that stick out
  • A very large conchal bowl (inside the ear)
  • Undeveloped folds in the ears
  • Not happy with the shape of your ears.

Otoplasty is best suited for patients in good physical health who don’t smoke and who have realistic expectations about the outcome of the procedure.

Your first consultation with Dr Lim will take around 45 minutes and you are most welcome to bring a support person with you. Due to social distancing measures as a result of COVID-19, the support person may not be able to enter the rooms (depending on the number of persons in the rooms at that particular time).

Dr Lim will take the time to discuss the procedure with you, the changes you desire, and any other issues related to the appearance of your ears that you feel are important to you. This will help Dr Lim understand your expectations and determine if they are achievable.

Dr Lim will explain the risks of surgery and discuss the methods of otoplasty surgery with you. Your ears will be assessed, and a few measurements and photographs will be taken to plan the procedure.

You do not have to make the decision to proceed with the surgery at this initial consultation. You will be given a written quotation and information to take home to read.

Dr Lim will examine your ears and consider factors such as the size, position and shape of your ears and the quality of your skin. Please come to the consultation prepared to discuss your medical history. This will include information about any medical conditions you have, medications you are currently taking, allergies you have, other medical treatments you have received and any previous surgery you have had.

A second consultation is required if you wish to proceed with surgery.

We recommend taking vitamin C for a week prior to the surgery.

Avoid products that contain aspirin, glucosamine, herbal supplements, fish oil and krill oil for four weeks before surgery. We also strongly recommend avoiding alcohol, and not smoking for eight weeks before and after surgery. Smoking can negatively affect the healing process.

On the day of surgery, patients should wear comfortable, loose clothing that does not need to be pulled over the head or face. Don’t wear any make-up, jewellery or nail polish.

We want to make this experience as supportive as possible — you will be given all pre-operative instructions prior to your procedure but please don’t hesitate to call My Klinik if you have any questions or concerns before your surgery.

Dr Lim performs all surgeries at fully accredited hospitals — Lakeview Private Hospital and Westmead Private Hospital. Otoplasty surgery is performed under general anaesthetic. Children having this procedure will be required to stay in hospital overnight, while adult patients should be able to return home the day of surgery.

Please contact the hospital a day before surgery to confirm your admission and fasting time. On entering the hospital, you need to report to the admissions desk and the staff will direct you through the admission process. Dr Lim and the anaesthetist will both see you prior to surgery and Dr Lim will make some markings on your ears.

After the one-hour procedure, you will spend some time in the recovery room where you will be closely monitored until you are fully awake and returned to your rooms. Dr Lim will visit you in hospital the morning after your surgery.

The first days after surgery are usually the most uncomfortable. Like most operations, it is not painless; you will be prescribed pain medication during this period and Dr Lim will provide a prescription for you upon discharge.

It is also normal to feel tired and a little slow for a day or two following a general anaesthetic. A support head band should be worn to bed for six weeks to aid in the healing process and prevent any damage to the ears.

Everyone is different, so the recovery period following this procedure varies from person to person. Most people are back to their normal routine in approximately one week, however the full healing process can take up to three months. The ears will be sensitive for six weeks following surgery and should be handled according to your own level of comfort.

Returning to work depends on the demands of your job — you may be able to return to light work within two weeks, however, heavy lifting is not recommended for four weeks. Dr Lim will discuss your individual situation with you before and after your surgery.

We endeavour to make sure our patients are as informed as possible. While some of the potential risks seem frightening, it is important for you to be aware that they can occur. During consultation, Dr Lim will take you through the risks involved and the potential complications.

Some of the possible complications are:

  • Infection
  • Keloids and hypertrophic (or raised) scars
  • Poor wound healing
  • The final result may not be as the patient desired (e.g. asymmetrical ears, irregularities in the cartilage, re-protrusion) and may require follow-up procedures
  • Nausea and loss of balance due to fluid accumulation within the inner ear
  • Small patches of skin on the cartilage of the ear may die, which can cause ulcers that may take several weeks to heal.

Dr Lim will monitor your progress carefully and our staff will stay in contact with you during the post-operative period. You will be seen at frequent intervals over the first three months. Your relationship with Dr Lim and the nursing staff does not end once you have had the procedure.

If you have any questions or concerns after your operation, you are always welcome to call My Klinik.

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About Dr Jake Lim

Highly qualified and experienced specialist plastic surgeon Dr Jake Lim focuses on facial plastic, cosmetic breast and body contouring after significant weight loss

Dr Lim creates the best possible plastic surgery results for his Australia-wide and international patients.

Dr Lim is passionate about making sure each and every patient has access to the right information about available treatments and procedures and is able to make well-informed decisions.

At My Klinik, patient safety, education and achieving optimal results are our top priorities.