How Old Is “Too Old” for Ear Surgery?

How Old Is “Too Old” for Ear Surgery? : Otherwise known as “otoplasty,” ear pinning surgery is commonly sought by parents for children whose ears are large in proportion to their head size, are misshapen/mismatched, or stick too far from the scalp. These issues can cause issues such as low self-esteem and being bullied at school.

But is ear surgery just for children? Is there an age limit for having otoplasty?

Today, we will talk about the process of having this type of ear surgery, common reasons to consider ear surgery, and whether otoplasty is the right choice for you, regardless of age.

What Is Otoplasty?

“Oto” means “ear.” Otoplasty is usually considered a form of cosmetic plastic surgery; however, it can also be classified as reconstructive surgery, depending on the exact issue and circumstances.

How Old Is the Average Otoplasty Patient?

Unlike most other plastic surgery procedures, otoplasty is commonly performed on children. In fact, more otoplasties are performed on patients ages seven to 14 than any other age group.

Popularity among this age group can be attributed to several factors. First, many parents fear that large or protruding ears will make children easier targets for bullying and teasing. This causes them to seek out a corrective method. Secondly, children’s cartilage is more pliable than adults’. This makes surgery easier and less invasive.

Does That Mean It’s Too Late to Have Otoplasty?

Not at all! Patients of all ages seek otoplasty for more self-confidence and satisfaction with their bodies.

Not all children with bothersome ears undergo otoplasty. As these children become adults, the problem can become more, not less, apparent. Unfortunately, overly large ears or ears that stick out do not tend to get better with age.

Having a body part that is displeasing can harm one’s self-esteem and may impact the sufferer’s life significantly. This can affect their dating life, professional career, and self-perception.

Attitudes About Plastic Surgery Are Changing

In the past, many people would have never considered a cosmetic surgery solution for conditions like ears that stick out or are overly large; however, now, such measures are becoming more commonplace.

Today, men and women dissatisfied with the look of their ears seek plastic surgery to make the ears look more proportionate to the head.

In fact, more than 50,000 Americans had otoplasty in 2020, according to the most current statistics.

Why Adults Seek Otoplasty

Otoplasty isn’t just about making the ears look smaller or pinning them closer to the head. Otoplasty can address any of these issues:

  • Ears that are disproportionate to the head and face
  • Asymmetrical ears (do not match one another)
  • Folded ear tips (also known as “lop ears”)
  • Ears that appear too small
  • To fix an injury or some other damage

How Otoplasty Surgery Is Performed

Otoplasty can be slightly different for children than adults due to the anesthesia used. However, the basic procedure is the same for both categories of patients.

  1. The patient is administered anesthesia. Usually, children are given general anesthesia for their safety. (A child may be more frightened and move around more than an adult.) For adult patients, local anesthesia may be used. Ask your plastic surgeon what anesthesia they will use for your procedure.
  2. The plastic surgeon makes an incision or incisions. Usually, these will be placed inconspicuously, such as in the crease behind the ear. (This is most common for “pinning” the ears or placing them flatter to and closer against the head, but it can also be used for other otoplasty techniques.)
  3. The surgeon reshapes the cartilage and tissue for a more pleasing or “pinned-back” appearance.
  4. The area is closed with sutures (stitches).

How Long Does It Take to Recover From Otoplasty?

Your recovery from otoplasty should be similar to any plastic surgery. And in case you’re wondering: no, recovery from ear surgery isn’t significantly different between children and adults.

However, older adults may take a somewhat longer time to heal. Ask your plastic surgeon what you can expect.

Keep the following in mind:

  • Full recovery and your final “look” can take up to six weeks.
  • Your surgeon will ask you to take it easy but not entirely inactive. You will be asked to walk a few steps immediately after your surgery. Gentle, appropriate movement after surgery helps prevent blood clots.
  • Expect bruising and swelling for the first week or so. After that, swelling should decrease, and bruises will change color and fade.
  • Follow ALL of your surgeon’s post-operative instructions exactly. This will help to prevent complications during the healing process.
  • DO NOT smoke. Smoking has been shown to hinder recovery from surgery and may increase the risk of complications.
  • Don’t lift heavy objects until you have the go-ahead from your plastic surgeon. You should be able to begin lifting light objects in about two weeks.
  • Don’t resume your regular workout routine until your plastic surgeon says it is safe.

By following a few simple steps, your recovery from otoplasty can be as smooth as possible. You’ll see your final result that you can enjoy for a lifetime.




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How Old Is “Too Old” for Ear Surgery?