ear surgery ear reshaping otoplasty pinnaplasty
  • Otoplasty is cosmetic surgery to reshape the ear
  • Performed under local anaesthetic
  • Renowned Ear Plastic Surgeons based in the UK
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Home » Cosmetic Surgery » Face & Eyes Surgery » Ear Reshaping
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Medically reviewed by Lorcan Sheppard BSc MBBS FRCA, Chief Medical Officer for The Private Clinic of Harley Street, London.
Last Reviewed 3rd November 2023

Otoplasty (Ear Correction Surgery)

Large or protruding ears can affect confidence and self-esteem, while ears that sit far away from the head can be uncomfortable. Luckily there is a solution.

Ear correction surgery is also known as an Otoplasty or a Pinnaplasty. This is a surgical procedure to reshape and reconstruct the ear. If you are unhappy with the shape, size or position of your ears, you may benefit from a Otoplasty procedure.

In most cases, ear surgery is performed to:

  • Pin back prominent ears
  • Decrease or increase the size of the ears
  • Reshape the cartilage of the ear
  • Correct deformities of the ear

Otoplasty surgery is a very safe surgical procedure that can help to improve the appearance of the ears as well as other benefits such as an increase in self-esteem and confidence.

We have ear surgery consultation clinics located in London Harley Street, BirminghamManchester, Liverpool and Northampton.

Our knowledgeable surgeons have a range of techniques when it comes to ear reshaping surgery. The best option is to come in and see our Consultant Plastic surgeons who specialise in Otoplasty and ear procedures. They will be able to discuss what you want to achieve and show you before and after photos. It is a simple procedure that really can transform the look of your face.

Ear Pinning

Ear Pinning surgery involves ‘pinning back’ prominent ears that protrude from the head too much.

The cause of protruding ears is often down to excessive cartilage in the concha and/or an underdeveloped antihelical fold.

During the treatment your surgeon will make an incision along the crease-line behind your ear and remove any excess cartilage that is causing it to protrude. The ear cartilage is then reshaped to encourage the ear to sit in a new position, closer to the head.

Following the surgery, the area will be stitched up and a dressing wrapped around your head to support the cartilage in its new place.

The result of a Pinnaplasty procedure is naturally reshaped or resized ears that lie closer to your head. This procedure can be performed on one, or both ears to help reduce asymmetry.

Ear Reduction

If you are concerned about the enlarged size of your ears, then an ear reduction procedure can be performed to help bring oversized ears more in proportion to the rest of the face.

Macrotia is the medical term for ears that are oversized and is defined by ears that are measured to be larger than two standard deviations above the average size for an ear. Macrotia is often related to genetic health conditions such as Borjeson-Forssman-Lehmann Syndrome and Fragile X Syndrome.

Large ears are not always macrotia and are often inherited from family genes.

Ear reduction or macrotia surgery involves making incisions into the back or folds of the ear and removing excess cartilage and skin from the upper, lower, or whole ear to allow the surgeon to reduce the height and/or width of the ear. Stitches are then used to close the incisions.

Ear Reduction surgery takes around 2 hours on average. Following surgery your ears will have dressing applied to the area to protect and support the ears.

Ear pinning surgery can also be combined with ear reduction surgery however this may need to be performed in two separate procedures depending on the nature of the ear reduction surgery. This is best discussed with your surgeon.

Ear Correction

Ear correction surgery is when surgery is performed on the ear to correct a deformity that may have occurred due to injury or has been present since birth.

Ear injuries are very common and in most cases are a result of biting or lacerations which may have required emergency surgery and resulted in poor results. Ear correction surgery can help patients improve the appearance of their ears and restore confidence.

Another form of ear injury is known as cauliflower ear which is often associated with rugby players. Cauliflower ear is medically known as an auricular hematoma and is caused when there has been trauma to the ear causing a blood clot to form and separate the skin of the ear from the cartilage inside. When left untreated, it can lead to a permanent deformity of the ear. Cauliflower ear is common amongst rugby players and boxers as their ears are subjected to friction and trauma on a regular basis which overtime results in the formation of a cauliflower ear.

Ear correction surgery can be performed on cauliflower ears and usually involves lifting the skin from the ear to reshape the thick tissue back into the original shape of the ear.

Earlobe Correction & Reduction

We also offer earlobe repair and reduction at The Private Clinic. Please see our tribal earlobe treatment page or split earlobe treatment page for more information about these treatments.

Ear Reshaping at a glance

Procedure Time
2 – 3 hours

Anaesthetic Type
Local or general

Hospital Stay
Day case

7 – 10 days

1 week

Up & Mobile
1 day

Sexual Activity
4 weeks

Back to Work
1 week

6 weeks

4 – 6 weeks

Full Recovery Time
6 weeks

Final Results
3 months

Support Garments
Head bandage for 1 week / supporting garment

Elevated on back for 2-4 weeks

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Ear Correction Before & After Photos.

Our excellent reputation for patient safety and satisfaction, honest advice and outstanding care means your journey with The Private Clinic will be an exciting experience. Take a look at some of our Ear Correction results below.

What to Expect

The Private Clinic has been treating patients for over 40 years with thousands of women placing their trust in us each year. We pride ourselves on being able to offer a personalised service. We have a team of friendly nurses and expert breast surgeons who understand the importance of this decision and will support you throughout your journey with us.

The Consultation

The first stage of your otoplasty treatment journey will be a consultation with one of our expert surgeons.
At your consultation, your surgeon will go through the otoplasty procedure in detail and examine the area.

Your surgeon will then discuss:

  • Your medical history
  • Your expectations from surgery
  • Risks and Complications of ear surgery
  • Aftercare

Following your consultation, you will be introduced to your dedicated patient coordinator who will be your point of contact should you wish to proceed with otoplasty surgery.

Consultation Image 1

Pre-Operative Appointment

In the interests of patient safety all our patients are assessed against our patient selection criteria. Following your otoplasty consultation your medical history will be reviewed and the pre-operative nurse will choose which pre-operative tests to carry out which are going to be most appropriate to you. Most pre-operative assessments include a blood test, MRSA swabs, urine test and a blood pressure test.

Consultation Image 1

Otoplasty Surgery

Otoplasty procedures usually take up to around 2 hours and can be performed under local or general anaesthetic, depending on the individual case. As specialists in minimally invasive procedures, we endeavour to carry out Otoplasty under local anaesthetic as often as possible, but will only proceed with the method that’s right for your needs.

During the treatment, your surgeon will make an incision along the crease-line behind your ear and remove any excess cartilage that is causing it to protrude. The ear is then pinned back along the fold to its new position, closer to the head.

Following the surgery, the area will be stitched up and a dressing wrapped around your head to support the cartilage in its new place.

The result of an otoplasty procedure is naturally reshaped or resized ears that lie closer to your head.

Consultation Image 1

After your Otoplasty procedure

We recommend that you take approximately one week off work. You may be allowed to return home immediately after the procedure, but this will depend on your case and some patients may be required to stay in hospital overnight to ensure your safety and recovery.

Regardless of whether you’ve received a local or general anaesthetic, you will need to arrange for someone to take you home and you may be asked to have someone to stay with you for the first-day post-procedure. Your surgeon and medical team will advise you on how to best aid your recovery.

You will need to wear a full turban head-bandage for 5-7 days to help support the wound. Sutures used are normally dissolvable.

Your ears will be bruised, swollen and red for a few weeks – it can take up to 6 weeks for a full recovery. Any discomfort is normally well controlled with painkillers.

A headband, or head-bandage, will be needed at night for a further 2 weeks to stop the ear rubbing on the pillow at night.

Normal hair washing can be resumed once the bandages are removed.

Consultation Image 1

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How does an otoplasty work?
An otoplasty procedure involves the surgeon reshaping the cartilage of the ear. The cartilage is what forms the ear underneath the skin. If you are born with misshapen ears, this is often corrected through the use of a splint in the first couple of days as the cartilage is very soft and mouldable with no need for invasive surgery.gtf
How long will the procedure take?

An Otoplasty procedure typically takes about two to three hours to complete. Depending on the case and the desired results, the treatment can be performed under local or general anaesthetic.

Does ear correction need local or general anaesthetic?

An otoplasty or pinnaplasty procedure can be performed under a local anaesthetic in most circumstances however this is decided on an individual case basis and you will be told at your consultation what to expect on the day of your procedure.

Is ear correction surgery painful?

An otoplasty procedure is performed under local or general anaesthetic to ensure that you are comfortable and feel no pain. You may experience some mild discomfort after surgery which can be managed with painkillers and will subside after a few days.

I have had an otoplasty as a child, but I feel my ears are still prominent, can this be performed again?

Generally a child will have ear correction surgery before the age of 5 and this is decided by the parents. When the child is between 5 and 13 they are usually not too worried about their appearance but then after age 13 there seems to be popularity again for those favouring the surgery. We are always able to operate again on the same area if you feel you need to have the procedure again, but always make sure you talk to your surgeon about your realistic expectations.

To find out about your suitability for ear correction surgery, make a consultation to see one of our expert plastic surgeons.

Am I too old for an otoplasty?

You may be thinking you’ve left it too late, or it is not worth having anymore but age is just a number and if something is bothering you enough to even consider surgical options to treat it then it is well worth asking the question.

As long as you are fit and healthy then there is no age limit to ear correction surgery. As this type of surgery is an elective operation, we are a little stricter on health as we need to ensure that you are able to recover from the aesthetic.

To find out about your suitability for ear correction surgery, make a consultation to see one of our expert plastic surgeons.

Will an otoplasty affect my hearing?

An otoplasty will have no effect on your hearing.

There are three parts to the ear; the pinna is the external ear, the middle ear which is behind the eardrum and then deeper in you have the inner ear balance. When you have ear correction surgery it will only affect the pinna region of the ear.

After the surgery you will be required to wear bandages which cover your ears – this may reduce your hearing slightly but once you are allowed to remove these, your hearing will return to normal.

How long will I have to wear a support band for?

In the first five to seven days following your procedure, you will have to wear a turban head-bandage to protect and support your wounds. During this time, you will have to wear a support band day and night.

Depending on your case, you may be required to wear the support band for up to four to six weeks.

In the first five to seven days following your procedure, you will have to wear a turban head-bandage to protect and support your wounds. During this time, you will have to wear a support band day and night.

Depending on your case, you may be required to wear the support band for up to four to six weeks.

Can you make my ears smaller instead of changing their projection?

Yes, we can. Your surgeon will assess your ears and give you objective advice about the proportions of your ears compared to your face and the best way for you to achieve natural-looking results.

It is possible to change the shape, projection and size of the ears. Ears can be pinned back, or skin can be removed and the cartilage reshaped when making other aesthetic changes.

To find out more about what an otoplasty procedure can do for you, click here to book a consultation.

Will there be any visible scarring?

There should be no visible scarring if you’re having your ears pinned back. However, resizing or reshaping has the potential of leaving thin white scars where the cartilage has been altered. Your surgeon will advise you on this and you should take into consideration whether minimal scarring is suitable in view of your desired goals.

In any case, our surgeons take extra care to ensure that incisions are made within the natural lines and creases of the body so that scarring is either invisible or kept to a bare minimum.

When will I be able to wash my hair after surgery?

When it comes to having any type of surgery, the recovery period can be difficult not just because of any discomfort but because when it comes to doing normal things like having a shower or bath, you may be restricted.

We would suggest that before having surgery you do anything that you need to do – bath, shower, hair wash and shave the day before you are due in for surgery. This way you know that it has been done and a few days without being able to perform these actions should not be too traumatic for you!

After ear correction surgery you will be required to wear a bandage or dressing for 3-4 days so during this time hair washing will be off limits. Once you have been given the go-ahead by your nurse or surgeon to remove these dressings you will be okay to wash your hair, but just take it easy and it may be worth asking for assistance the first time you attempt to do this.

Will I be able to play sports like rugby after an otoplasty?

Once recovered from ear correction surgery you will be free to play any sport this is usually from 6 weeks.

However, we do recommend that you try and avoid any sports that cause excessive friction on the ear like rugby as although this shouldn’t cause your ears to return to their original state – it may distress the ear a little and may eventually lead to deformity that you can see on professional rugby players.

Will I be able to pierce my ear after an otoplasty?

Getting your ears pierced is vastly popular but if you have struggled with the appearance of your ears the thought of having any type of decoration on them may have felt terrifying with the fear of drawing additional unwanted attention. So once you have had surgery you may be considering a new piercing to celebrate your new ears.

There is no reason why you would not be able to have any piercings after ear correction surgery this includes lobe to cartilage piercing.

Is an otoplasty permanent?

Generally yes, ear correction surgery is permanent.

As long you take care during the recovery period then there should be no reason for your ears to revert back to their original state.

Sometimes we do perform revision surgery if the patient decides the change is not enough which is more common if one ear protruded slightly more than the other.

This is all comes down to having realistic expectations prior to surgery which is fully discussed with your surgeon during a consultation.

To find out more about booking a consultation at a clinic near you, contact us here.

What does a free ear surgery consultation mean?

We offer a free ear surgery phone or video consultations with our experienced patient coordinators. They will be able to provide information on the procedure and the best ear correction surgeons that are going to suit your requirements.

In order to secure the timed appointment we will require a £25 refundable deposit. This is refunded once the consultation takes place. You can change your appointment time up to 48 hours before.

Contact us to book your free phone or video consultation.

Am I suitable for ear correction surgery?

An otoplasty / pinnaplasty procedure is not suitable for everyone. This is why it is important to do your research and go along for consultations with surgeons to work out your suitability and what you can realistically expect from surgery.

Anyone with ears that are of normal size or shape with no obvious deformity apart from the prominence of them will be suitable for surgery. Those with lop ears for example or microtia will not be suitable for surgery.

To find out about your suitability for ear correction surgery, make a consultation to see one of our expert plastic surgeons.

What is the recovery period like after ear correction surgery?

A standard otoplasty recovery timeline;

First 24 hours– You will be required to wear a mild compressive garment around your head. If you do manage to catch a glimpse, your ears may appear or feel larger but this is due to the swelling.

24 to 72 hours– Although the initial compression bandages may be removed, you will still be required to wear a light headband around your ears for the next 1-2 weeks. The majority of your swelling will begin to reduce. You will be able to shower/bathe from the neck down without any restrictions however you should avoid washing your hair until at least 3-4 days after the procedure.

72 hours to First Week– Some patients feel happy to return to work at this point but this will depend on the swelling and what your job involves.

First Week to Second Week– At this point, the swelling should have subsided and most patients feel comfortable to be in social situations and have returned to work and their normal activities. You will also be able to shower as normal at the end of the first week. After two weeks you won’t need to wear the headband at all times, just at night for another couple of weeks.

Three Months– Your swelling should be completely gone at this stage.

Is there a difference between an otoplasty and a pinnaplasty?

If you have been researching ear correction you may have noticed that some refer to the procedure as an otoplasty and others as a pinnaplasty. Are they the same thing?

You’ll be pleased to know that everyone is still talking the same language and there is no difference between an otoplasty and a pinnaplasty.

There is no difference, Pinna refers to the projecting part of the ear outside the head, oto means ear when combined with other words such as ‘ology’ or ‘plasty’ which then means moulding or reshaping of a defect to restore form and/or function to a body part.

How much does Otoplasty (Ear Correction Surgery) cost?

The cost of a Otoplasty / Pinnaplasty starts from £2,450 (unilateral) to approximately £4,150 (bilateral) under local anaesthetic.

We don’t follow a one-price-fits-all policy and prices are quoted on a case by case basis. You will be given an accurate quote for your requirements following your consultation. To find out more or book a consultation click here.

Consultations with our plastic surgeons are £100 at our clinics in London Harley StreetLeeds, Manchester and Northampton.

We also offer consultations with our highly experienced Patient Coordinators which require a £25 refundable deposit to secure your place. These are available in BirminghamLeedsManchester and Northampton.

Patient coordinators are able to offer you all the information you require prior to meeting a surgeon.

Please note all consultations available at our Harley Street clinic are with a surgeon.

Is there an ear surgery clinic near me?

The Private Clinic has clinics nationwide so we are sure to have an expert ear surgeons located near to you.

Our clinics;

Where can I get ear surgery in London?

London – 98 Harley street, W1G7HZ

Where can I get ear surgery in Manchester?

Manchester – 25 St John Street, M3 4DT

Where can I get ear surgery in Birmingham?

Birmingham – 88 Hagley Road, B16 8LU – West Midlands

Where can I get ear surgery in Leeds?

Leeds – 45 Park Square North, LS1 2NP – Yorkshire

Where can I get ear surgery in Northampton?

Northampton – 82 Billing Road, NN1 5DF – East Midlands

To find out more about booking a consultation, use our online contact form.

Things to Consider

Our advice on what to consider when deciding to have a Otoplasty (Ear Correction Surgery) procedure:

1. When choosing a clinic, you should always do your research, and only go to an established, reputable clinic. The Private Clinic has been in the cosmetic surgery industry for over 40 years. We are here to answer all of your questions and give you peace of mind.

2. When choosing a surgeon, make sure you know who you’ll be seeing. Their expertise, qualifications and patient satisfaction rate are important factors to take into consideration.

At The Private Clinic, we only source the most experienced and specialised surgeons. Find out more about our plastic surgeons here.

3. Price should never be the deciding factor when choosing where to have your treatment. Safety should be your number one priority and feeling confident that they will look after you – not only before, but also after your procedure

4. When it sounds too good to be true, it often is. Always find out what your clinic’s reputation is.

Our excellent reputation for patient safety and satisfaction, honest advice and outstanding care means your journey with The Private Clinic will be an exciting experience to a newfound shape.

Why Choose The Private Clinic

  • We have over 40 years’ experience in Medical Cosmetic procedures and advanced non-surgical treatments.
  • World class ear specialist surgeons
  • Dedicated care with your expert surgeon and nursing team, and a 24 hour help line.
  • As many post-operative care appointments with your surgeon, doctor and nursing team as required.
  • We have state of the art hospital facilities.
  • 5 Star Trustpilot Rating
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Meet our Surgeons

We have a dedicated Plastic Surgeon and medical team who will be with you throughout your journey. At The Private Clinic Otoplasty (Ear Correction Surgery) is performed by some of the UK’s top consultant plastic surgeons who have decades of experience.