Superior skill. Concierge care. Refined results.
What is otoplasty?
The cartilage of the outer ears forms distinctive geometric features. No two people have the same ears. For people with large, uneven, or protruding ears, otoplasty can help achieve a more balanced aesthetic.
Ear pinning, or otoplasty, is a plastic surgery that changes the size, shape, position, or proportion of your ears.
Dr. Daniel Y. Maman is a Harvard-fellowship trained and board-certified plastic surgeon with extensive otoplasty experience.
Why do people need an otoplasty?
Your outer ear, known medically as the pinna or auricle, has multiple anatomical markers, including:
- Tragus—the small, pointed protrusion of cartilage that covers the opening of your ear canal and helps your brain determine if sounds are coming from in front of or behind you
- Antitragus—the cartilage arch opposite the tragus and right above your ear lobe on the interior portion of your outer ear
- Helix—the curving outer rim of cartilage running from your scalp to your earlobe that helps collect sound and allows your ear to keep its shape but still stay flexible
- Antihelix—the Y-shaped cartilage ridge on the “flap” of your ear that frames the concha
- Concha—the innermost, bowl-shaped section of your ear that directs sound into the external auditory canal, the tube that leads to your eardrum
- Lobe—the skin (areolar) and fat (adipose) tissue at the bottom of your ear
Depending on your clinical and aesthetic needs, a surgeon will:
- Use sutures to pull the ear closer to the head without removing any tissue or cartilage
- Remove cartilage and skin through a small incision behind your ear
- Reshape and trim misshapen cartilage, using suturing to create new forms and hold them in their new position
Types of ear deformities
Abnormal ear shape is most often a congenital condition but can also be the result of an injury. Otoplasty is rarely needed for hearing-related reasons, but it can improve the appearance of any number of deformities, including:
- Protruding ears—ears that stick out from your head more than 2 cm regardless of overall ear size
- Constricted ears—ears that are not a normal size and are missing some of the features expected in the upper half of the ear—often the helix is folded over, wrinkled, or tight
- Cryptotia—helix cartilage is partially buried under the skin on the side of your head due to abnormal muscle positioning, eliminating the “ledge” where glasses would sit
- Microtia—external ear structure that is small and improperly developed
- Anotia—complete absence of your entire external ear complex
- Stahl’s ear—ears with an extra cartilage fold that gives them a pointy shape (“elf ear”)
- Ear tags—benign growths made up of skin and cartilage that are usually located in front of your ear or on your cheek
- Traumatic ear injuries—deformities caused by lacerations, tears, bites, and blunt force injuries
- Cauliflower ear—permanent bumpy or lumpy ears caused when blood clots from repeated hits to your ear (such as those in boxing or wrestling) separate your ear cartilage from the dense connective tissue (perichondrium) that delivers nutrients
- Keloid scarring—excessive scar tissue from minor traumas
- Hemangiomas—common benign infant tumors that can occur in the skin and/or fat layers of your ear
How does the surgery work?
There are three main types of otoplasty:
- Otopexy—pinning technique used to flatten ears that protrude at a significant angle; can be used in combination with both ear augmentation and reduction
- Ear augmentation—adding cartilage, skin, and tissue to increase the size of an underdeveloped external ear complex
- Ear reduction—removing cartilage, skin, and tissue from ears that are disproportionately large
Otoplasty is performed using local anesthesia or IV sedation. For patients who are combining otoplasty with other procedures, Dr. Maman may choose to use general anesthesia.
The type of surgery you are having will determine where your incisions will be, but otoplasty incisions are generally made where your ear meets your head, on the back of your ear, or in the natural folds on the front of your ear. These incision locations allow access to the anatomical structures listed above while ensuring scars will be minimally visible after your healing process is complete.
Creating a new ear that is natural-looking and proportional to your head requires technical skill and an artistic eye. After the incisions are made, Dr. Maman will either remove, add, and/or reshape tissue and cartilage as required by your clinical presentation. The new ear shape will be held in place with internal permanent stitches.
Expectations for recovery
After your surgery, you will be expected to wear a compression headband for several weeks. This can be decorative and discreet if attending school or work is a concern.
You should avoid sleeping on your side or other activities that rub against or put pressure on your ears. Some patients find wearing loose-fitting clothing and pulling back long hair helpful. We also recommend that patients wear stretchy, soft headbands at night to keep their ears from being pulled or stretched while tossing and turning in sleep.
You may have some numbness or tingling in the skin on your ears after your surgery. It may take several months for that to normalize, but following our protocols will speed your recovery.
If your newborn has prominent or misshapen ears that do not improve after about a week, it is possible to mold their ears using taping, splints, and a special putty for several months. This process must begin within three weeks of birth or the cartilage will be too established for molding to work properly.
We make sure you have the information you need to feel informed about your decision, from your inquiry about our practice through the consultation and recovery.
The first step is a thorough, collaborative consultation. Before surgery, we provide:
- 60- to 90-minute in-depth initial consultations with a complete medical history review and physical assessment by Dr. Maman
- Multiple pre-op visits to answer all your questions
- Specialized surgery coordinators to help you navigate scheduling, financial, and insurance processes
Once you’ve decided to move forward with surgery, we emphasize convenience, comfort, and a smooth recovery. This includes:
- Convenient NYC operating facilities
- Luxury recovery room options at NYC hotels
- Complimentary, custom post-operative support garments and scar treatment regimens
- Attentive and routine aftercare visits
Personalized, Holistic Patient-Centered Approach
Understanding each patient’s personal and clinical needs is central to our practice. We customize treatment plans for each patient, and each patient receives Dr. Maman’s personal contact information along with direct round-the-clock access to our nurse and surgical coordinator.
“Dr. Maman is an incredible doctor with an impeccable aesthetic. He has the ability to make you feel completely comfortable. I always feel incredibly positive after my appointments with him.”
Results & Recovery
Our priority is to provide the highest degree of comfort for our patients throughout their otoplasty procedure and recovery.
We schedule multiple pre-op appointments to make sure that our patients are fully informed and know exactly what to expect from the procedure. We also stay in close contact during the pre-op period in order to ensure that each patient receives prompt and personalized care.
Once surgery is complete, local patients have the option to recover at home in NYC or in one of our luxury recovery rooms located in select hotels in the city. Recovery timelines vary depending on procedure, and our thorough aftercare options ensure optimized recovery and results.
For more information, read our FAQs below.
See our results. Contact us to find the right approach for you.
Meet Dr. Daniel Maman
Dr. Daniel Maman is a Harvard fellowship-trained and board-certified plastic surgeon specialized in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the breast, body, and face.
Basic Otoplasty FAQs
How much do you charge for otoplasty?
Because we customize your otoplasty treatment plan specifically for you, we do not have a set price for this procedure. During your initial consultation, Dr. Maman conducts a detailed assessment of your goals. Afterward, you will receive an itemized price quote to help you make your decision.
Am I a good candidate for otoplasty?
While a consultation with Dr. Maman is the best way to determine if you are a good candidate for surgery, otoplasty may be for you if your ear size, position, or protrusion makes you uncomfortable or self-conscious. Otoplasty patients who are happiest with their results are generally healthy non-smokers, and smoking can affect the health and resilience of the skin used to create your new ear.
What age is the right age for an otoplasty?
The cartilage in your ear is not developed enough for an otoplasty until you are between five and six years old. At this time, your ear is about 80% of its adult size. While our most motivated patients tend to be adolescents and adults, the more flexible, adaptable tissue and skin of younger patients lessen the likelihood of needing a second/revisionary ear surgery.
Will an otoplasty affect my hearing?
Because an otoplasty deals with the outside of your ear, it will not affect your hearing.
Where will my surgery be performed? How long will it take?
Dr. Maman usually performs otoplasty surgeries at an in-office facility certified by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF) or an outpatient ambulatory surgery center (ASC). He also has operating privileges at Mount Sinai Hospital, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York Eye & Ear Infirmary, and Englewood Hospital. We work with you to select the best facility for your needs.
Your clinical and aesthetic goals will determine what procedures you need and how long your surgery will last. Generally, otoplasty surgery usually takes between one and three hours, including prep and recovery time. If you are combining otoplasty with other procedures, your total time in the operating room may be longer.
When can I go home?
You will likely be able to return home with an adult companion several hours after your surgery is completed. If you do not live nearby or are uncomfortable recovering at home, our office will arrange for you to stay nearby at The Carlyle, The Mark, or The Surrey hotels.
What will my incisions look like, and where will they be?
Your incisions will be hidden either behind your ear or in the natural folds of your ear. Following our post-operative scar treatment protocol will help you avoid infection and ensure your scars are almost invisible.
How long does recovery take?
Most patients return to work and light activity about a week after their surgery, but ears are a sensitive body part and it is important that you carefully follow post-operative instructions to maximize your healing and results.
This means you should avoid activities that raise your blood pressure for one to two weeks after surgery to avoid swelling and bleeding. You can begin light exercise after two weeks, but you should avoid contact sports and heavy lifting for a month. You should avoid anything that will bend your ear for a month and contact sports for up to two months.
Will I have to pay for follow-up visits after my surgery?
Because we value our patients’ health and satisfaction above everything else, we do not charge for post-operative visits, whether they are part of your detailed follow-up plan during the first year after surgery or the annual visits that we recommend to ensure your results are maintained.
Request A Consultation
Call Today 212.920.6800
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Maman or to get more information, kindly submit your details using the adjacent form and a member of our patient concierge team will promptly be in touch. We look forward to welcoming you to Maman Plastic Surgery.