Ear Surgery: Cost, Risks, Recovery


Ear surgery, also named otoplasty, is a plastic surgery to improve the shape, position or proportion of the ear. This procedure can help correct a birth defect in the ear structure and treat misshapen ears caused by injury to create a more natural shape while bringing balance and proportion to the ears and face.

Most commonly, ear surgery is done on children ageing 4 to 14. It’s never too late, though, for an adult to make a change to their ears. This surgery can correct ear conditions such as protruding ears, abnormally large ear lobes, lop ear (in which the tip folds down and trends forward), and shell ear, a condition in which certain features of a normal ear are missing.


A good candiate for ear surgery include:

  • People who are physically healthy and without a life-threatening illness or untreated chronic ear infections
  • 5 yeras old child or when the ear cartilage is stable to correct
  • Parents are willing to understand the surgery and cooperative with surgeons
  • Nonsmokers
  • Have a positive and realistic surgery toward the surgery


According to 2018 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of an ear surgery is $3,156. In most cases, this number refers to the surgeon’s fee, which can vary based on the experience and the location. Other fees that are included in the total cost include:

  • Anesthesia fees
  • Hospital or surgical facility costs
  • Prescriptions for medication
  • Post-surgery garments
  • Medical tests


There are risks with any surgery. Possible risks or complications of ear surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Bruising
  • Asymmetry
  • Swelling and pain
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Poor wound healing
  • Changes in skin sensation
  • Blood clots, in rare cases


During your consultation with the surgeon, you should prepare to discuss your medical history, use of current medications and expectations for the surgery. Your surgeon will ask you to do the following preparations:

  • Obtain lab tests or a medical evaluation, including hearing test in an ear surgery
  • Stop smoking at least 2 weeks in advance of surgery
  • Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding

People getting general anesthesia cannot eat or drink after midnight the night before surgery or the morning of the surgery. The last meal the night before should be very light. If you are an adult, the surgery will be completed within a few hours and you can go home the same day. So, remember to plan for a friend or a family member to drive you home and stay with you the first night.

Surgical steps

An ear surgery will last about two to three hours, depending on how complex the procedure your case is. It may take longer than three hours if the procedure you need consists of other surgeries. Generally, your surgeon will follow these steps:

  • Local or general anesthesia for the patient’s comfort during the surgery
  • Making the incision on the back surface of the ear to create or increase the antihelical fold and to reduce enlarged conchal cartilage
  • Closing the incision with external stitches
  • Waiting to see the results after removing the dressings several days later


After the surgery, your head will be bandaged. It’s very important that you follow your doctor’s instructions on how to handle the bandage to ensure a smooth recovery. You have to wear it for at least three days. When you have the bandage removed, your surgeon will provide you with a headband-type dressing. He or she may want you to wear this for up to three weeks to promote proper healing.

You may experience swelling, bruising and pain during recovery. But they will fade in about one week. So, you should plan to stay home at least one week after the surgery.

Keyword: ear surgery.

Related Posts:

Ear infections: symptoms, causes and treatment

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.