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One of the most frequent problems in the head and neck region is protruding ears, which is often hereditary. The objective of otoplasty is to change the position of the ears to bring protruding ears closer to the head or to change their shape.

This surgery is also performed on children, typically after the age of 5–6.

Course of surgery and recovery

Different surgical methods are used depending on the problem. A skin incision is made on the back of the earlobe to make the scar as invisible as possible. Excess skin on the back of the ear is removed and the shape of the ear cartilage is changed during the procedure. The surgery is usually performed under local anaesthesia and it lasts 1.5–2 hours.

The patient is allowed home a few hours after the operation. A compression bandage, which is left on for a week, is wrapped around the head to fix the ears in their new position after the surgery. The sutures are removed after 7 days. A headband must be worn (especially at night) for one month after the removal of the sutures and any possible traumas to the ears must be avoided. It is advisable not to participate in contact sports for 2–3 months.

Results and risks

The post-operative final healing takes up to 6 months. The results are usually permanent.

Side effects may be temporary throbbing, pain, numbness, swelling and redness in the operated area. Hematoma, wound infection and reaction to anaesthetics are also possible.

Operations are performed by plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Mart Eller.