otoplasty Recovery

Ear Surgery Recovery - How to Avoid Otoplasty Complications

Reviewed by Yael Halaas, MD

Ear surgery recovery varies from person to person depending on age, overall health, the skill of the surgeon and the type and extent of the ear surgery. For example, recovery from torn earlobe repair likely will differ from recovery associated with cosmetic ear surgery. Otoplasty is often performed on children, so age can play a significant role in recovery. It can be much harder for young children to comply with postoperative instructions such as avoiding rough play or contact sports.

What to Expect During Recovery from Ear Surgery

Immediately following surgery, your head will be wrapped in a thick bandage that resembles a turban. This bandage will help protect your ears during the early days of the healing process.

You can expect to experience some discomfort following ear surgery, which can be eased with prescription painkillers or over-the-counter pain medications. You will get instructions from your surgeon detailing what you can and cannot take following ear surgery. Some medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, may cause bleeding and should be avoided during your otoplasty recovery. Certain "all-natural" herbal remedies or supplements may also increase this risk, so make sure your surgeon knows about everything that you take.

Some people experience headaches following ear surgery, which can also be treated with pain medications.

Swelling may occur after your ear surgery and can be minimized by keeping your head elevated. Most swelling should resolve within one week. You may experience some itching or sensory changes near the incisions, but these are usually temporary.

Your surgeon will likely ask you to return after a few days to have the turban-like bandage replaced with a smaller bandage that resembles a headband. Your stitches will either dissolve or be removed within one week of your ear surgery.

Caring for a Child Who Has Undergone Otoplasty

If you are caring for a child who has undergone ear surgery, monitor his or her activities closely. Children can't engage in rough play or contact sports for at least a week. Younger children may have trouble complying with these restrictions and should be carefully supervised and kept busy in other ways.

Regardless of age, it is important not to bend the ears for at least one month following otoplasty surgery.

The good news is that by carefully adhering to your surgeon's instructions, you — or your child — can experience a smooth recovery and avoid otoplasty complications. Adults are usually able to return to their daily activities within three days, while children require a week or more of restricted activity. Ear surgery results are visible 10 to 20 days following surgery.

Choosing an Otoplasty Surgeon

Considering the cost of ear surgery, it is important you take all necessary steps to yield optimal treatment results. The best way to ensure a smooth recovery and satisfactory results is to choose a skilled, experienced facial plastic surgeon and follow his or her pre- and postoperative instructions carefully. Finding the right surgeon can be a difficult task, and we at All About Facial Rejuvenation want to take some of the stress out of the process. To help you in your search, we have assembled a directory of talented surgeons with many years of education, training and experience. To start your search for the right surgeon, click on the Find a Surgeon Button at the bottom of this page.

  • Halaas 58x57

    Yael Halaas, MD, FACS

    60 E. 56th Street
    3rd Floor
    New York, NY 10022
    (332) 239-6439

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    Mune Gowda, MD

    3270 West Big Beaver
    Suite 415
    Troy, MI 48084

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    Sean Maguire, MD

    Physician's Center for Beauty
    24 Chenoweth Lane
    Louisville, KY 40207
    (866) 774-9105