Cosmetic ear surgery: An expert guide to otoplasty

Written by: Ms Kallirroi Tzafetta
Published: | Updated: 08/09/2023
Edited by: Sophie Kennedy

Cosmetic ear surgery, known as otoplasty (Greek) and pinnaplasty (Latin) aims to improve the appearance of the ears’ size, shape or symmetry. Some people elect to undergo this cosmetic procedure to reduce the extent to which their ears appear to stick out from their head. In this all-you-need-to-know guide to otoplasty, revered consultant plastic and reconstructive plastic surgeon Ms Kallirroi Tzafetta offers expert insight on the risks, results and key factors to consider for those looking to improve the appearance of their ears.


What are the most common reasons people choose to undergo an otoplasty procedure?


Otoplasty procedures are not typically performed for medical reasons and most people choose to undergo this type of surgery for cosmetic reasons. If a person’s ears are very prominent, they may become self-conscious and unfortunately, children are sometimes bullied at school or receive unfavourable comments about their ears when they are young.



What is the minimum age for an otoplasty? Do a patient’s ears need to be fully developed?


The earliest an otoplasty procedure could be performed safely is when the child is between seven and eight years of age. By this stage, most of the development of the ear has been achieved.



How is an otoplasty performed?


An otoplasty can be performed as a day-case procedure, usually with general anaesthetic. The approach is from behind the ears and the sutures are usually permanent. The operation usually lasts around ninety minutes.



Is it a risky procedure?


Otoplasty procedures are very safe but as with any type of surgical procedure, there are some general risks. Specific to otoplasty, some mild asymmetry or extrusion of the sutures can occur. There is no risk to ear function and the person’s hearing will be unaffected by the surgery.



What can be expected from the recovery process?


The recovery process after an otoplasty procedure is usually very quick and simple but it is important to ensure the ears are protected with a bandage for a week or so following surgery.



Will patients be left with scars following recovery?


Although patients are left with scars following an otoplasty, they are located behind the ears and are very well hidden. In very rare cases, keloid or hypertrophic scarring may develop but this is very unusual.




If you think otoplasty might be right for you and wish to discuss your options further, you can schedule a consultation with Ms Kallirroi Tzafetta by visiting her Top Doctors profile. 

By Ms Kallirroi Tzafetta
Plastic surgery

Ms Kallirroi Tzafetta is a consultant aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgeon in Chelmsford, Brentwood and Sawbridge who specialises in facial surgery, face and neck lift, rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty, tummy tuck and breast surgery.

Ms Tzafetta obtained her medical degree from the University of Athens in 1991. She was awarded her Master of Philosophy from the University of Bradford for her full-time research work on wound healing in 2001.

Ms Tzafetta underwent her fellowship in microsurgery and facial paralysis surgery at The Microsurgical Research Centre at Eastern Virginia Medical School in the USA. She became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 2007.

Ms Tzafetta is regularly invited to talk at conferences and other events, sharing her expertise in several areas including facial paralysis, reconstruction and wound healing.

She is a member of the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), the World Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery (WSRM) and the Sir Charles Bell Society for facial paralysis.

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