Ear Surgery Sydney

Ears come in all shapes and sizes.

Otoplasty or surgery performed to address prominent ears involves the alteration of the shape of the ear, and/or to place the ear closer to the scalp.

Dr John Flood is an experienced plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Sydney and offers ear surgery (otoplasty) options as part of his comprehensive range of surgical procedures available.

Call Sydney (02) 9476 8066

Consultation Appointments Are Available

Contact Dr John Flood to schedule your appointment.

Phone: (02) 9476 8066

MED0001132610 - Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. Find more information here.

Ear Set-Back Surgery

Ears come in all shapes and sizes. At times patients may have one ear more prominent and a different shape compared to the other ear. A prominent ear can be caused by a deep conchal bowl. At other times, an ear may not have developed an appropriate fold in the anti-helical rim. Some patients may find that their ear lobes appear large or are sitting in an oblique fashion. The causes may be from previous trauma or simply hereditary. Prominent ears can sometimes be a source of discomfort for patients, which may prompt them to seek a surgical change.

What to Expect

About the Operation

At your initial consultation with Dr Flood, a detailed assessment of both ears, including symmetry, shape and size, is made. A diagnosis is made as to why the ear is a certain shape and size, assessing both the upper, middle and lower poles of each ear. Photographs may be taken for documentation.

Otoplasty or ear pinning is performed as a day surgery procedure under general anaesthetic. At times, the procedure can be performed under local anaesthetic depending on the technique that is used to set back the ear. The procedure usually takes one and a half hours. The incisions are made behind the ear so that all scars are hidden.

The procedure of otoplasty or ear pinning involves lifting the skin of the ear off the underlying ear cartilage. The ear cartilage is then re-shaped or at times excessive cartilage is removed. Once the ear cartilage has been re-shaped into a more pleasing position and shape dissolvable sutures are then used to support the cartilage in this new position. These dissolvable sutures usually dissolve over a period of six months and do not need to be removed. This is especially important for children to be aware of as it avoids suture removal anxiety. At the end of the procedure the ear skin is then re-draped over this new cartilage framework and any excessive skin can then be removed. The scar line is usually hidden behind the ear.

A dressing is then placed to support the ear in its new shape and to avoid blood or fluid accumulating between the skin and the newly shaped cartilage. The dressing usually stays in place for seven days. Patients are usually allowed to go home on the day of surgery. Pain relief is typically in the form of tablets, and should be taken according to the directions provided by your surgeon. Most people find that their ear feels somewhat uncomfortable for the first 24 hours. Antibiotics may be prescribed to reduce the chance of infection.

After the Operation

Once the head bandage is removed after seven days patients are allowed to shower and wash their hair and behind their ears. Patients are then instructed to wear a terry towelling tennis headband to support their ears of a night-time for a further five weeks. This avoids inadvertent folding of the ear during sleep. Contact sports are avoided during this time as well. It is expected after the head bandage is removed that some bruising will still be present for a further few days. Swelling at times may take a further few weeks to subside. Often the ear skin will feel somewhat numb and tingling will start to return to the ear skin over the next few weeks.

Post-Operative Care

Patients return at the six-week mark post-operatively for a further scar check. At that time they are educated regarding scar massage to the ear. Sensation by this stage has started to return and is usually complete by three to four months post-operatively.

Complications of the procedure involve infection, bleeding, excessive pain, skin loss, asymmetry, unsatisfactory position, poor scarring and appearance. Although such complications are rare they can occur. As no two ears are identical it is important for patients to be aware that at times there may be minor differences between both ears following their surgery. This is usually not noticeable to other people. However patients naturally after an operation will be very particular and tend to look in the mirror for any slight imperfections over the first eight weeks post-operatively. Over time when patients stop ‘looking in the mirror’ they usually find they are very pleased with the results. Their rituals of hair dressing and activity avoidance usually cease. The procedure in the vast majority of patients helps to restore their self-confidence.

Important considerations prior to surgery include ceasing smoking for at least two weeks pre-operatively as well as two weeks post-operatively and ceasing medication that may thin the blood for at least two weeks pre-operatively as well as two weeks post-operatively. This includes herbal supplements.


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