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Otoplasty and Earlobe Repair

Unlike pretty eyes or a great smile, ears are rarely the subject of compliments or praise. That might be because when we look at someone, the ears should blend into the rest of the face, without standing out much. However, for some individuals, the ears can look unusually prominent or distorted, becoming a constant source of unwanted attention or embarrassment. This can cause them to hide their ears and feel self-conscious, even to the point that it hinders interpersonal interactions.

If this sounds familiar, ear surgery can provide cosmetic improvements that bring balance and harmony to your facial profile. Dr. Daines is a facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Orange County who performs ear procedures such as otoplasty and earlobe repair to mend, reshape or resize the ears in a pleasing way. We work with both adults and children to address concerns caused by prominent or damaged ears, helping to restore a proportional and natural-looking appearance. We encourage you to learn more about these procedures by scheduling a consultation today.


Otoplasty, also known as “pinning back” or ear reshaping, is a surgical procedure for those who are bothered by the shape or prominence of their ears. Many ear deformities or abnormalities can begin at a young age and persist through adulthood, with the potential to cause emotional distress and problems with self-esteem. Children born with large, protuberant or distorted ears are often teased or even bullied at school, which may result in even happy or well-adjusted kids becoming depressed and withdrawn. Fortunately, otoplasty is a safe and reliable surgical option for correcting the position and appearance of the ears in children as young as 5, a time when the ear is near its adult size and kindergarten is just about to begin.

Otoplasty is an outpatient procedure that provides a permanent and immediately visible transformation. Using small, concealed incisions behind the ear and advanced cartilage reshaping techniques, Dr. Daines can restore a more natural, inconspicuous appearance to you or your child’s ears. Some of the specific concerns that otoplasty can address include:

  • Protruding ears
  • Large or prominent ears
  • Birth defects in the ears
  • Ear structure problems
  • An asymmetrical appearance
  • Cosmetic issues related to aging

Dr. Daines approaches each ear surgery with an artistic eye and consistently delivers natural, proportionate results, but it isn’t always possible to recreate a specific look or shape. Instead, Dr. Daines focuses on sculpting ears that complement each patient’s unique appearance and restoring visual harmony and symmetry to their facial features.


Otoplasty is often performed on children between the ages of 5 and 15, but adults can also undergo this procedure to improve their overall appearance. That being said, having the surgery done at an earlier age gives the ears enough time to develop, but allows children to avoid being teased or bullied at school. Regardless of age, otoplasty is a safe procedure that comes with very few risks or complications. The ears are composed of easy-to-manipulate cartilage and aren’t located near any major blood vessels or nerve endings, making surgery appropriate for most patients.


Dr. Daines also specializes in split or torn earlobe repair surgery. Unlike the other parts of the ear, the earlobes don’t contain cartilage and are more prone to stretching or tearing. The earlobes can become damaged for a number of reasons, but common culprits include piercings, trauma and accidental injuries. Those who wear heavy earrings or gauges are most susceptible due to a gradual lengthening or elongation of the piercing hole, which can result in partial or complete splits and tears.

Whether there is a full or partial tear in your earlobes from trauma or simply years of wearing earrings, Dr. Daines has mastered various techniques to repair and mend any damage and restore a natural contour. This same knowledge enables him to fix earlobes that have become stretched or distorted from gauge earrings as well. Other concerns that this procedure can address include:

  • Full or partial tears
  • Split earlobes
  • Stretched or elongated earlobes
  • Asymmetrical earlobes
  • Misshapen earlobes
  • Earlobes that have shrunk

In some cases, misshapen earlobes are merely a result of the aging process, but Dr. Daines’ customized technique can also reduce the size of elongated earlobes or restore a youthful volume to ears that have lost some of their size over time. Regardless of why surgery is needed, this procedure is done in the office with a local anesthetic. Most patients can return home immediately after and resume their normal routine within just a few days.


Many people seeking earlobe repair or reduction do so to reverse the effects of gauged piercings or heavy jewelry. Others have unintentionally damaged their ears due to injury or trauma, resulting in full or partial tears that haven’t healed on their own and require surgery to fix. In all cases, earlobe reduction or repair is a relatively safe and e procedure, appropriate for most patients who want to restore a whole, healthy appearance to their ears. Ideal candidates should be in good health, not prone to keloid scarring and have an issue that this surgery can address.


After otoplasty, the expected downtime is minimal for both children and adults. Immediately following the procedure, some discomfort is normal, but it is typically mild and can be effectively controlled with oral medication. Swelling is also common after otoplasty, but this will resolve on its own within a few weeks. Patients may need to avoid strenuous activities and modify the way they lay their head on their pillow at night to prevent excessive pressure on the ears while they’re healing, but Dr. Daines will provide detailed aftercare instructions to ensure a smooth recovery. Children can usually return to school about a week after surgery, and most adults return to work within five days.


Otoplasty offers children and adults with protruding ears immediate and lasting results, but they may not become apparent for up to a month due to swelling. It can also take some time for the ears to settle into their final position and shape. Scars are concealed in discreet or hidden areas, so the ears will have a natural appearance once fully healed. No matter what age the procedure is performed at, results are lifelong, enhancing patients’ facial symmetry and providing dramatic improvements to their confidence and self-esteem.


Pain is usually minimal after earlobe repair or reduction, and any discomfort can be easily managed with oral pain medication. Most patients resume their normal routine within a few days, although Dr. Daines may restrict strenuous activity or exercise for a short time. He may also advise not to sleep directly on the ears to avoid applying pressure to the area until it has healed. Sutures will be removed after approximately one week to reveal a new, natural appearance. After six weeks, Dr. Daines can bring patients back to re-pierce the ears if they want to continue wearing earrings, but he may recommend lighter jewelry to avoid further problems with stretching or tearing.


Much like otoplasty, the results of earlobe repair and reduction surgery are permanent as long as patients take care of their ears and avoid future trauma or injury. If the ears are re-pierced, saving heavy or dangling jewelry for special events can help minimize this risk and prevent the piercing holes from becoming stretched again. Once the area is healed, your ears will maintain a natural-looking shape and scarring will be minimal as the incision lines begin to fade.


Otoplasty is considered a cosmetic or elective surgery and is not typically covered by insurance. The average cost can vary from patient to patient, depending on the amount of correction needed, the extent of surgery and the desired outcome. Although otoplasty is a relatively minor surgery, it is vital that it be performed in a safe, sterile environment by a board-certified plastic surgeon for the best possible results. To ensure this, the surgeon’s professional fee, the facility fee for the operating room and the anesthesiologist’s fee are included in the overall cost of the procedure. Otoplasty has one of the highest satisfaction rates among patients and can provide invaluable improvements to you or your child’s confidence.


Surgeries that enhance, repair or reshape the ears are typically minimally-invasive and offer a high degree of patient satisfaction. Otoplasty is one of the few plastic surgery procedures recommended for children, and earlobe repair or reduction can restore a whole, natural appearance to the ears following injury or trauma. If you would like to learn more about these procedures, contact Daines Plastic Surgery at 949-397-6499.

*Board-certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Steven M Daines has written information about otoplasty and earlobe repair that has been carefully reviewed. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us using our form below.

Click here to download our post-otoplasty and earlobe repair patient instruction handout.

We are so glad to have found Dr. Daines. He performed Otoplasty on my daughter, and I could not be more pleased with the results. When we went in for our consult, he was so kind and compassionate. I left with the best first impression possible. On the day of the surgery, Dr. Daines put all of our fears at ease and took his time to do an impeccable job. His communication is beyond what I expected to get from a surgeon. Dr. Daines is humble, gracious and kind hearted. He also has a wonderful sense of humor and a sweet spirit. I recommend Dr. Daines to anyone who is contemplating plastic surgery. The office staff was also very friendly and met all of our needs. -Jeanette A.

Procedure Details

Otoplasty Procedure Details

Otoplasty is performed in an outpatient surgery center under twilight or general anesthesia. The appropriate type of anesthesia is determined based on a patient’s age, the overall extent of surgery and their comfort level. Otoplasty generally takes around two hours to complete, but this may vary depending on the patient and the amount of correction needed.

Otoplasty is a relatively straightforward surgery that involves small, discreet incisions made behind the ears, allowing Dr. Daines to access the underlying cartilage. He will then sculpt and re-contour the ears to a more pleasing position, curving them closer to the side of the head. If necessary, excess tissue and cartilage may also be removed to make the ears smaller. Once the ideal shape and position are achieved, the ears are anchored into place with sutures and a light dressing is applied. Dressings will remain for the first few days after surgery, helping to minimize swelling and protect the newly reshaped ears.

As an outpatient procedure, otoplasty allows most children and adults to return home the same day. The effects of anesthesia can linger for a few hours after surgery and cause grogginess, disorientation and nausea, so a friend or family member will need to provide transportation upon discharge to ensure patient safety.

Earlobe Repair/Reduction Procedure Details

Earlobe reduction or repair is also performed at an outpatient surgery center, typically under local anesthesia. The procedure can often be completed in less than an hour, but this may vary depending on the extent of damage to the earlobes. Complete tears or splits and heavily scarred areas might take longer to correct and require a more involved approach.

Repairing or resizing the earlobes is usually accomplished by removing a small wedge of tissue from the treatment area to restore a natural shape. Any lumps, scarring, sagging or other irregularities can also be fixed using this technique. For partial rips or stretched piercing holes that have not broken through the bottom of the ear, the scarred portions may be removed and healthy tissue stitched back together to create a whole appearance. To repair a complete tear, the edges of the injury are cleaned up and the earlobes are sutured into a pleasing contour.

While the exact techniques may vary from patient to patient, the methods used by Dr. Daines to reduce or repair the earlobes produce little scarring and natural results. Once the area has healed, the earlobes can even be re-pierced if so desired.

Daines Plastic Surgery