Tucson Otoplasty Ear Surgery Information, Benefits and Risks

Click here to see Before and After photos

Skip to:

What is an otoplasty?

An otoplasty is a surgical procedure that repositions and reshapes the ear to give it a more pleasing appearance.

When is an otoplasty used?

An otoplasty can be performed on a child or an adult who has prominent, asymmetric or malformed ears.

What is involved at a consultation for an otoplasty?

When you come in for your initial consultation, you will meet with both Dr. Maloney and Lindsay, the clinical coordinator. Maloney Plastic Surgery is one of the only practices in Tucson, Arizona to offer VECTRA 3D (three-dimensional) technology to our patients. One of the first things we will do at your consultation is use VECTRA imaging technology to take a 3D image of your face and ears. The exciting part about the VECTRA technology is we can perform an “otoplasty” on the 3D image and show you how the operation will look on your head in 3D! You will also be given a user number so you can access your saved images from home to review with your friends and loved ones if you choose. We are excited and proud to offer this amazing technology to our patients. After Vectra imaging, Dr. Maloney will examine you to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. He will also discuss details of the operation, show you before and after photos and answer any questions you may have. At this time, Dr. Maloney will discuss the options for anesthesia. With this operation most people choose to be awake, however children under the age of nine typically will go to sleep. Lindsay will then review surgical fees, financing options and answer additional questions. If you choose to have surgery, you will return for another consultation about two weeks prior to your operation. At this second appointment, Dr. Maloney will review the surgical plan with you as well as go through consent forms, review your VECTRA pre-operative photographs and give you your prescriptions. Lindsay will go over all of your surgical instructions and give you a packet of information. When you leave this second appointment you will have everything you need for surgery.

How do I prepare for an otoplasty?

After meeting with Dr. Maloney and choosing a surgical date for your otoplasty, you should plan for your care and recovery after the operation. You will need to arrange a ride to and from the surgery center or office the day of surgery and arrange for someone to stay with you for the first 24 hours. You should take three days to two weeks off of work for this operation depending on the type of work you do (speak to Lindsay, Dr. Maloney’s Clinical Coordinator for additional information). If your employer requires paperwork for time off, please obtain it ahead of time and bring it to our office. If you smoke, you must quit a minimum of two weeks before surgery. We suggest 6-8 weeks, but two weeks is the minimum. Smokers heal slower and can have wound healing problems. If you take aspirin or other medication that causes bleeding, you should stop taking it three weeks before surgery because it causes increased bleeding and therefore more bruising. If you are taking any diet pills (prescription or over-the-counter) or Metformin (a common diabetes medication), you should stop one week prior to surgery because of anesthesia risks. All medications, herbs, vitamins and dietary supplements you are taking should be carefully reviewed with Dr. Maloney prior to surgery. If you are under the care of a physician for any health issues, we may require surgical clearance from your physician and/or cardiologist.

At your pre-operative consultation with Dr. Maloney you will be given your prescriptions. Get these prescriptions filled before surgery so they are at home when you need them. Pick up some bags of frozen peas or corn to use as icepacks after your procedure and a workout type headband to use during your recovery. You need to stay hydrated, so have plenty of water or sports drinks around the house. You should mix sports drinks and water 50/50. You should also start taking a stool softener as narcotic pain medication and anesthesia can make you constipated.

If you choose to have surgery at the surgery center

The morning of surgery you may not have anything to eat or drink after midnight, this includes water. Do not put any lotions, deodorant or make-up on the day of surgery. Do not wear any jewelry to the surgery center. You should wear comfortable clothes that are easy to get on and off. A shirt that zips or buttons up the front is preferable, as are loose workout type pants or sweat pants. Bring your photo ID when you check into the surgery center. You will check in and then be taken back to the pre-operating area where Dr. Maloney will come and discuss the plan again, answer any additional questions you have and mark the surgical site. You will also meet the anesthesiologist and ask him/her any questions you may have.

If you choose to have your procedure in the office

You should take your prescribed medication one hour prior to your surgical time. You will need someone to drive you to and from your procedure because of the medications you will be taking. We will bring you back to the procedure room where Dr. Maloney will mark the surgical site and make final preparations for the procedure. You will then relax on the surgical table and we will clean your ears with a pre-surgical scrub. Sterile towels will be placed and Dr. Maloney will begin the operation.

How is an otoplasty performed?

The operation takes about 1-2 hours depending on what needs to be done to the ears. After numbing medication is injected, Dr. Maloney will make an incision along the back of the ear. From here, he can fix the asymmetry, malformation or any protrusions by making adjustments to the skin and cartilage. Dissolvable sutures and a dressing will be placed and you will be ready to go home (recovery is about an hour for people who choose to go to the surgical center).

What should I expect after an otoplasty?

You will wear a compression dressing over your ears to minimize swelling and bruising. You may ooze some fluid from the incisions onto your dressing, but this is normal. Sleep with your head elevated for the first few days to help with bruising and swelling. You should rest and eat a healthy diet that is high in protein to speed up recovery. You should also avoid alcohol and refrain from smoking. All surgeons recommend early and frequent ambulation after surgery to reduce the risk of blood clot formation in the legs and to speed up recovery. Your ears will be swollen after surgery. You may have some bruising. It takes about three weeks to see results, so be patient during the recovery process. You may remove your dressings and shower 1-3 days after surgery depending on what the office tells you. At this time you can use the workout headband for compression instead of the bulky dressing. You will return to the office for your first post-operative exam 1-3 days after surgery. A low-grade fever is not unusual after any surgical procedure. If you have any questions during the recovery phase, please do not hesitate to call our office any time, day or night.

What are the benefits of an otoplasty?

After the procedure your ears will be more symmetrical, pinned back into a more “normal” position and any malformations will be corrected. For both children and adults this may be a great boost to their self-confidence.

What are the risks of an otoplasty?

Otoplasty has both aesthetic and health risks, and it is the patient’s personal decision whether the benefits outweigh those risks. Common risks include scars, bleeding, infection, asymmetry, excessive firmness, or changes in skin sensation. There are also more uncommon, complicated risks such as deep vein thrombosis for a patient who chooses to go to sleep. For a full list of risks, go to plasticsurgery.org.