How Long Does It Take To Recovery From Ear Surgery?

Cosmetic ear surgery, or otoplasty, is an aesthetic procedure used to adjust the appearance of the ears. While the outcome of ear reshaping surgery greatly varies, the procedure often helps to improve the patient’s self-confidence, particularly in children and teenagers. For patients who have ears which protrude, ear pinning surgery can be performed to make the ears lie more flat against the head. When the ears are not positioned parallel to one another, ear repositioning can help improve the symmetry. Ears which are too large can be addressed on their own or along with any other issues.

Patients who have the below concerns with the size or shape of their ears may be a good candidate for ear surgery:

  • Overly large or small ears
  • Ears which are disproportionate or have an odd placement
  • Ears that protrude or stick out
  • Those who suffer from an injury which negatively impacts the shape or position of the ears

Benefits of ear surgery include:

  • Improving the shape and proportion of the ears
  • Helps to boost to self-confidence
  • Low-risk procedure which can be performed on children five years and older
  • Results typically last forever

Challenges with ear surgery:

  • Young children may struggle to handle aftercare and the recovery process
  • Can impact ear symmetry
  • Surgery can result in permanent scarring or numbness


The surgeon will discuss how long you need to wait before returning to your routine activities and work. Following the surgery, you will receive detailed instructions regarding post-surgical care to follow. This generally includes information on the following topics:

  • Drains, if applicable
  • Expected symptoms during recover
  • Potential complications

It is critical that you follow your surgeon’s instructions. The expected recovery time can also vary greatly for each patient.

Following surgery, dressing will be wrapped around the ears. Shortly after the procedure, the doctor will remove this heavier bandage to evaluate the ears. This will likely be replaced with a lighter dressing. The dressing should remain in place until your doctor confirms you can remove it. Your surgeon may also give you a prescription for pain medication.

Most patients are released from the hospital or surgical center the day of the procedure. All patients should arrange to have someone else provide transportation to and from the surgery.


It is important to have a responsible adult with you for a minimum of twenty-four hours during the recovery period. It is also important to rest for the first week after surgery. Maintain light movement to maintain good blood flow. To help minimize any discomfort, you should recline but ensure your head remains elevated. Avoid resting or laying on the ears as this can cause a great deal of pain.

Your doctor will advise when the dressings can be removed. You may need to apply an antibiotic ointment to the ears at home, in addition to other wound care.

About a week following the procedure, you will have a follow up appointment with your doctor. Your stitches may be removed during this appointment, although it is common for the surgeon to use dissolvable stitches.

While the recovery process is specific to each patient, most people can expect to return to work and light activities in about a week. Within about two weeks, the final results will be visible, though they may be minor changes which can occur for up to a year.

How Much Does Ear Surgery Cost?