Prominent or large ears can often lead to teasing among children and can make anyone, young or old, feel self-conscious about their appearance. Our board-certified facial plastic surgeons J. David Kriet, MD and Clinton D. Humphrey, MD, are skilled and experienced in the latest facial plastic and reconstructive surgical techniques. At their Kansas City practice, they offer surgery to reposition and reshape the ears (otoplasty) of both children and adults. For each otoplasty patient, our surgeons develop a customized surgical plan for reducing ear projection and modifying shape to achieve improved facial harmony.
What is Otoplasty?
Otoplasty, or ear surgery, involves the surgical correction of one or both ears to restore proportion to the facial appearance. This is achieved by recontouring or repositioning the ear shape according to the dimensions of your surrounding facial features for an improved sense of aesthetic balance. Depending on the nature of your concerns, a number of techniques may be employed to achieve your cosmetic goals, including ear pinning or reconstructing the cartilaginous framework. Ear surgery can be performed once the cartilage of the ear reaches at least 75 percent maturation, which typically occurs around age five. For children or adult patients who wish to treat malformation of the ears—including congenital (since birth) conditions like Stahl’s ear, microtia, and anotia—Drs. Kriet and Humphrey also offer ear reconstruction to correct deformities or irregular development of the ear structure.
Benefits of Otoplasty
The goal of otoplasty is to symmetrically reposition and/or reshape either one or both of the ears to create a less prominent appearance. This procedure can reduce ear dominance among the facial features and restore a more balanced facial appearance. Repositioning the ears can also reduce ear pain during sleep and sensitivity to sound that can affect individuals with protruding ears. For patients with ear shape abnormalities, otoplasty can revise problematic ear features to achieve a more proportionate appearance. Otoplasty can be performed at either a young age, during adolescence, or in adulthood with outstanding results; however, most surgeons recommend otoplasty at an early age (at least five years old) to reduce the potential for teasing and social trauma in childhood.
The Otoplasty Procedure
Children are typically placed under general anesthesia during otoplasty, while adults may only require conscious sedation and local anesthesia. Surgery begins with an incision hidden in the natural skin crease behind the ear. A small amount of skin is removed, and then the cartilage is reshaped using a variety of techniques to achieve the desired contour and orientation. Finally, the incisions are closed to hold the ear in place. If necessary, the procedure is then performed on the other ear to create a symmetrical result. Otoplasty generally takes between one to two hours, depending upon the complexity of the procedure.
Recovery After Otoplasty
After otoplasty, the ears are bandaged in soft dressings for a few days. When these dressings are removed, it is recommended that patients wear a specialized headband at night for several weeks after surgery. Patients typically resume their normal daily routine after about one week; however, patients are cautioned to avoid strenuous activities for three to four weeks following surgery. Discomfort after otoplasty is typically mild and can be effectively managed with medication.
Adults and children who have undergone otoplasty with our facial plastic surgeons typically achieve outstanding results. Before-and-after photographs of our otoplasty patients are included in our gallery, and if you are considering the procedure for either yourself or your child, we encourage you to take a look.
How Much Does Otoplasty Cost?
A wide range of cosmetic concerns can be addressed with ear surgery. As a result, the complexity and cost of the procedure may vary widely as well. The average cost for otoplasty addressing both ears is $5,500 to $6,000. However, this number will differ based on multiple factors that typically influence the final price, including:
- Anesthesiologist fees
- Surgical facility fees
- Postoperative medication
- Experience of the plastic surgeon
- Geographic location of the practice
During the initial consultation, Dr. Kriet or Dr. Humphrey will perform a physical exam, discuss the cosmetic goals of each patient, and design a customized treatment plan that can meet their expectations. At that time, an accurate quote can be given for the total cost of the patient’s custom-tailored otoplasty.
For patients interested in paying for their treatment incrementally over time, our practice works with CareCredit® to make the cost of surgery more affordable. This healthcare lending company offers qualified applicants a range of flexible payment plans with low monthly installments, as well as interest-free options. As a premier method of plastic surgery financing, this can give patients the opportunity to receive the enhancement they desire while suiting their budgetary concerns. If you would like to learn more, please contact our practice to speak to a member of our team.
Otoplasty (ear surgery) performed by Dr. Kriet and Dr. Humphrey can correct prominent ears and enhance self-esteem. We invite you to contact our practice for more information on cosmetic ear