otoplasty patient
otoplasty patient


Ear Surgery

What to Expect


The ears aren’t exactly our most glamorous feature, but they do play an important role in the overall balance and harmony of the face. In fact, many people are bothered by the size or shape of their ears, feeling that it detracts from their overall appearance. Ears that are too large or prominent can become a source of embarrassment for kids, adolescents and adults, while earlobes that are torn or damaged can draw unwanted attention.

At Edina Plastic Surgery, our team has extensive experience in improving the size, shape and angle of the ears to restore a proportional and natural-looking appearance. We also repair earlobes that have been torn due to injury, jewelry or trauma. We work with both children and adults who are seeking to correct prominent or damaged ears, with surgical plans that are tailored to your exact needs and goals.

If you’d like to learn more about having your earlobes repaired or resized by one of our board-certified plastic surgeons, contact or call us at 612-688-3177. Our office is located in Edina, Minnesota, and we proudly serve patients in the community as well as those in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding Twin Cities metro area.


The most common ear procedures performed at Edina Plastic Surgery are otoplasty, which is done to change the shape, size or position of the ears, and the repair of torn earlobes.

Otoplasty is often used in the correction of congenital prominent ears, an inherited trait that causes the ears to stick out farther from the head than usual. It can also reshape the ears for improved symmetry and address other defects or abnormalities. For many children, the appearance of large or protruding ears becomes the focus of teasing and can have a lasting impact on their self-esteem. While prominent ears are usually apparent from birth, the problem can persist through adulthood. However, otoplasty can be performed on children as young as 5 or 6 years old, when the ears are approaching their adult size and kindergarten is just around the corner. At this age, the operation is typically done under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure, so no overnight stay is required. In older individuals, and for revision otoplasty surgeries, a local anesthetic is adequate.

In contrast, torn earlobe repair is performed to address damage caused by injury or trauma. A common reason for earlobe repair is to mend splits or tears that may occur from wearing heavy, dangling jewelry, which can gradually elongate the piercing hole or get ripped out accidentally. Some patients also seek this procedure to reverse the effects of gauged earrings, eliminate keloids or remove old scar tissue. Earlobe repair surgery can address these and other concerns to restore the ears to their original condition.

Tips for Preparing



Otoplasty is ideal for both children and adults with large, prominent or protruding ears. It can be performed on patients as young as 5 years old, as long as the ear has reached full size. Some common conditions or abnormalities that this treatment can address include:

  • Congenital prominent ears
  • Protruding ears
  • Stahl’s ear (flat or pointed ears)
  • Cryptotia (partially buried cartilage)
  • Oversized or disproportionate ears
  • Cauliflower ear
  • Constricted ears
  • Other ear deformities

Our providers will evaluate you or your child’s concerns during an initial consultation to help decide if otoplasty is appropriate. Although this procedure will change the appearance of the ears, it will have no effect on problems of the inner ear, such as hearing loss.


Torn earlobe repair is considered a safe procedure that is appropriate for most patients who want to restore the appearance of their ears. If you are bothered by the following concerns, you’re likely a good candidate for this procedure as long as you’re in good health:

  • Split, torn or damaged earlobes
  • Keloids or scar tissue
  • Stretched or gauged piercing holes
  • An asymmetrical appearance
  • Misshapen earlobes

During a consultation, our team can perform an examination to determine if earlobe repair is right for you. Ideal candidates should have realistic expectations and not be excessively prone to keloids, as surgery can cause more to develop in treated areas.



Otoplasty is an outpatient procedure that is generally performed under general or local anesthesia, depending on the patient’s age. During surgery, an incision is typically made behind the ear and the cartilage is reshaped to create a more natural appearance. Sometimes, excess tissue is also partially removed. Then, the ears are anchored into place with sutures and a dressing is applied that will be worn for one to two days after surgery. Once the dressings are removed, a headband should be used at night for a few weeks to help protect the ears and keep them in their new position.


Torn earlobe repair is also an outpatient procedure that is performed using a local anesthetic. It is a relatively simple process that requires only a few minutes of time, but this can vary depending on the amount of correction needed. During treatment, a small wedge of tissue or scarring is typically removed to restore the earlobes to a more natural shape. If a complete tear has occurred, the edges are cleaned up and stitched back together. After surgery, normal activities can be resumed in a matter of days and no time off work is usually needed. Sutures will come out in a few days. Patients who want to re-pierce their ears can do so, but should wait a couple of months to avoid complications.


It’s important to follow your surgeon’s post-op instructions to ensure the best result following otoplasty or torn earlobe repair. This will include protecting your ears as directed to ensure that the new contours heal properly. Dressings will be applied for the first few days and a headband should be worn after that to keep the ears in place and prevent any damage from occurring. Patients should also sleep on their back or stomach to alleviate pressure on the ears at night and be careful not to get the earlobes caught in clothing or jewelry.

After the dressings are removed, bruising and swelling around the incision site may become noticeable. Keep this area clean and don’t scratch or pick at it to prevent scarring. Some discomfort may occur, although it is typically mild and easily managed with over-the-counter medication. Most children and adults are able to return to work or school the day after otoplasty, while little to no downtime is usually needed following torn earlobe repair.

If any persistent redness, swelling, bleeding or numbness occurs, contact your doctor. Our team is available to address your needs and concerns to ensure a smooth recovery.


Otoplasty provides immediate and permanent results that create a more pleasing and proportionate appearance. Revisions are sometimes needed, for example in cases of under or overcorrection, noticeable asymmetry and visible scarring. Minor adjustments can be made to improve the symmetry or shape of the ears if you’re unhappy with the results of a previous otoplasty.

Torn earlobe repair also delivers permanent results as long as no future injury or trauma occurs. Although the ears can be pierced again after surgery, it should not be done in the same spot to ensure the best results. Lighter jewelry or studs are also recommended to prevent further problems, as the earlobes can stretch or tear again after surgery.

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If you have damaged earlobes or feel self-conscious about the size or shape of your ears, the board-certified plastic surgeons at Edina Plastic Surgery can help restore a more natural appearance. Ear procedures such as otoplasty or torn earlobe repair can provide a dramatic improvement without extensive downtime or recovery. To schedule a consultation for you or your child, give us a call at 612-688-3177 or complete our online contact form.

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