Craig Mezrow MS, MD, FACS

What is Otoplasty?

Otoplasty, is commonly performed on protruding ears, ears that stick out too far from the head in children and adults and often having varying degrees of absence of the fold (antihelical fold) of the ear. This inherited condition in which the ears protrude often cause children and adults to be very self-conscious. It is not uncommon for women and young girls to never wear their hair up, keeping their hair covering their ears.


Consulting with Dr. Mezrow:

During the consultation, Dr. Mezrow will ask you about your particular concerns regarding your ears. This will help determine your expectations and determine whether they can be realistically achieved. 

After obtaining a comprehensive medical and surgical history, Dr. Mezrow will perform an examination of your ears. The degree of ear protrusion will be assessed including the amount of excess cartilage and degree of absence of the antihelical fold of the ear. Following a complete examination, Dr. Mezrow will discuss with you which of many surgical techniques you are a candidate for. The particular technique that is suggested will depend on many factors such as the amount of excess ear cartilage, amount of ear protrusion and the degree of absence of the antihelical fold.

Who is a candidate?

Otoplasty surgery is performed in children usually after the approximate age of five when the majority of ear growth is complete.

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How is the procedure done/Where will I have scars?

The procedure is typically performed under local anesthesia and takes approximately 1-3 hours to perform. Usually, the surgery is performed through an incision placed in the fold behind the ear where if necessary excess cartilage is removed, sutures are used to better define or create an antihelical fold as well set back the ears. A head dressing is placed at the time of surgery. Most patients recover within 1 to 2 hours after surgery and are discharged home.

Otoplasty is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. You may be permitted to go home after recovery. After surgery, you should rest quietly with having your head elevated. It is important to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you for at least the next day or two.


What kind of medications will be given to me?

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. Typically, a local anesthetic is administered, so that you will be comfortable throughout the procedure.


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What are the potential complications?

Fortunately, significant complications from otoplasty are infrequent, however, all surgery has risks. Dr. Mezrow will discuss with you, the risks, benefits and alternatives and answer all your questions

Some potential complications include infection, bleeding, asymmetries, recurrence, poor scarring and additional surgery. A complication, which delays healing and prolongs recovery, is more common in diabetic patients and those who smoke.

Preoperative and postoperative instructions will be given to you by Dr. Mezrow in attempt to reduce the likelihood of complications and make you as comfortable as possible with the whole process. Smokers will be instructed to stop smoking 4-6 weeks prior to surgery and not resume smoking to reduce the risk of delayed healing, wounds, infections and compromised outcome. Aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications as well as agents that cause bleeding should be discontinued two weeks prior to surgery (or as otherwise instructed by Dr. Mezrow and your primary physician) to reduce the likelihood of bleeding.

What happens after surgery?

When surgery is completed, you will be taken into a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. You will have a head dressing placed.

Strenuous activities including straining, bending and lifting should be avoided for the first several days, since these activities might cause compromised results including but not limited to increased swelling or even bleeding.

After surgery, patients experience varying degrees of swelling and bruising that will resolve with time. Stitches used usually do not require removal, as they are resorbable. The incisions will be initially be reddish and then slowly fade over months resulting in permanent scars that are usually concealed in natural fold behind the ears.

When can I return to work?

Depending on your physical condition, you may be able to return to non-strenuous work in approximately one week after surgery.

How long is the healing process?

During healing you may experience some mild, periodic discomfort and swelling, such feelings are normal. Severe pain should be reported to Dr. Mezrow.

Otoplasty surgery will set back your ears and will often create a more pleasing antihelical fold. After otoplasty surgery it is not uncommon to feel more confident about your appearance. Women who have worn their hair down for years because of being self conscious of their protruding ears can now wear their hair up. Healing from your surgery is a process that takes up to a year for final result. You will be instructed to return to Dr. Mezrow’s office for follow-up care at prescribed intervals to monitor your progress and optimize your outcome.

If you have any questions or concerns prior to surgery or during your recovery, you should contact Dr. Mezrow.