Otoplasty is a surgery that corrects the contours of the outer ear. Otoplasty is frequently performed to correct prominent ear, in a procedure also known as ear-pinback or ear-pinning. Prominent ears are ears that “stick out.” This is usually a congenital condition that results from irregularities in the ear’s cartilage that cause the ear to angle outwards, rather than laying flat against the sides of the head. This can affect both or only one ear. Patients with prominent ear can suffer significant distress from the appearance of their ears and unfortunately can find themselves the target of bullying. This heartbreaking experience can cause lasting emotional trauma and can impact self-confidence and social interactions even after leaving the schoolyard. Unfortunately, many patients aren’t aware that there is something that they can do about it. Otoplasty is a fast, outpatient procedure that can permanently address protruding ears and restore confidence.
Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Gregory Albert produces the highest quality of results for otoplasty patients. His discerning eye for aesthetics allows him to help patients achieve their desired appearance and improve their lives. If you want to learn more about addressing your ears, please call Optimization Centre in Boca Raton at (561) 495-2700, or fill out our online contact form to get started.
- 1 Before & After Photos
- 2 Before and After Photos
- 3 About
- 4 Otoplasty Approaches
- 5 Benefits
- 6 Personal Consultation with Dr. Albert
- 7 Preparation
- 8 Procedure
- 9 Recovery
- 10 Results
- 11 Corresponding & Complementary Procedures
- 12 Cost of Otoplasty in Boca Raton
- 13 FAQ
- 14 References
Before & After Photos
Before and After Photos
The outer ear is also called the auricle, or pinna, and is a fascinating structure of curves and ridges that is unique to every individual. Like our fingerprints, no two ears are exactly alike. These curves and concavities of cartilage collect soundwaves and direct them into the inner ear, where they are eventually converted into impulses that reach our brain, giving us the precious ability to hear.
Our ears begin developing only three weeks after conception and have completed the majority of their development by age five or six. And from this point until roughly the age of 70, the shape of our ears remains stable. (1)(2) But for those who are unhappy with their ears, this can seem like a life sentence.
About Prominent Ear
Prominauris, or prominent ear, is typically caused by irregularities in the cartilage of the auricle, or outer ear. This is often because of an overly large concha, the bowl-shaped section of cartilage to the side of our ear canal, where we’d insert an earbud. In other cases, patients may not have an adequately developed antihelix. The antihelix is the crease that runs alongside the outer edge of the ear and causes the edge of the ear to fold backward. While most patients are born with this condition, ear projection can also be affected by injury.
Prominent ear is diagnosed by measuring the distance from the back of the ear to the scalp, and the angle at which the ear protrudes from the head. In a normal ear, the top portion of the ear is usually about a centimeter from the scalp and forms a 20-30 degree angle with the side of the head. (1) However, most patients don’t need measurements to know that their ears are making them unhappy.
Prominent ear isn’t a recent phenomenon, and neither is the distress it causes. Surgeries to correct it have been recorded in medical literature dating as far back as 1845.  Since then, surgeons have developed numerous techniques to provide patients with a more balanced ear appearance. Strategically placed incisions and specialized sutures are performed on the back of the ear to sculpt the cartilage and improve the appearance and angling of the ear.
This method is one of the most common techniques performed, and Dr. Albert has used this approach for over 20 years. This technique creates a more pronounced antihelix, which corrects the angles of the outer edges of the ear. During surgery, a vertical incision is made at the back of the ear. The surgeon sutures the incision shut using mattress sutures, which create the necessary tension to position the protruding edges of the ear inward toward the head.  These small sutures gently allow the cartilage to fold. The result is an invisible scar and a natural-looking ear.
Depending on the unique anatomy of your ears, Dr. Albert may choose to use a different approach, or combine approaches for the best results. Other techniques are often performed on patients whose prominent ear is the result of an overdeveloped concha. One, the Furnas technique, quite literally “pins back” the ear. Sutures are used to attach the conchal cartilage to the tissue underneath it so that there is a wider area anchoring the concha to the head, and the ear lies flat. Patients with excessive conchal cartilage causing their prominent ear may need a more aggressive solution. In these cases, cartilage may need to be removed in order to achieve a flatter angle for the ear. Dr. Albert has an extensive amount of experience performing otoplasties and will be able to explain the surgical approach that will best resolve your unique case.
Whether you’re thinking about an otoplasty for yourself or for your child, the psychological benefits of otoplasty can not be overstated. Studies have found that patients who underwent otoplasty reported that their self-confidence and general attitude towards life significantly improved and that they had increased courage when facing challenges. 
Otoplasty has an extremely high satisfaction rate, and Dr. Albert is pleased to be able to offer his patients consistently excellent results.
Other benefits of otoplasty include:
- Outpatient procedure that does not require general anesthesia
- Discreet incisions and minimal scarring
- Permanent results
- Fast recovery with little pain
- Can be performed on children as soon as their ears are fully grown
- Eliminates self-consciousness and bullying
Otoplasties for Athletes
Dr. Albert has been performing reconstructive procedures for professional athletes for the entirety of his 40 years of practice. This frequently includes otoplasties on athletes that have suffered traumatic ear injuries. Hockey players, boxers, and football players often sustain damage to their ears. Oftentimes, reconstructions are required, in which case Dr. Albert will perform cartilage grafts in order to restore the contours of the ear. Boxers and MMA fighters are particularly prone to an acquired ear deformity known as “cauliflower ear.” In these cases, Dr. Albert will carefully remove and reshape the scarred cartilage so that the patient has a more normal-looking ear profile. While it’s not always possible to completely reverse the damage to these tissues, significant improvements can be made, and athletes know that they are in the very best of hands.
Personal Consultation with Dr. Albert
Dr. Gregory Albert is driven to make a positive difference in his patients’ lives and genuinely cares about addressing their unique concerns. During your consultation, he’ll compassionately listen to what you or your child would like to change about their ears. Dr. Albert has performed otoplasties on children as young as 5, including his own daughter, so he understands the heartbreak of bullying, and the distress that prominent ears can cause. He’ll explain the procedure so that patients understand exactly what it entails and feel comfortable moving forward. After examining the patient’s ears, he will develop a personalized treatment plan, and answer any questions. Schedule your consultation with Dr. Albert in Boca Raton by calling (561) 495-2700. Or, you can reach the Optimization Centre by filling out this online form.
Before your scheduled surgical date, you’ll be given detailed instructions on the appropriate steps to prepare.
- Stop smoking: Nicotine products compromise blood flow and can prolong your recovery.
- Discontinue certain medications: NSAIDs, blood thinners, and certain supplements can cause excessive bleeding.
- Arrange a ride home
Otoplasty for prominent ear is performed using local anesthesia and oral sedation. For patients that would like a deeper level of sedation, IV sedation is available. Once it has taken effect, Dr. Albert will perform the otoplasty as discussed to reshape the ear. After he has finished, the area will be dressed with bandages, and patients will wear a headband to protect their healing ears.
Otoplasties feature little discomfort during recovery, and most patients are able to manage any pain by simply taking Tylenol! For the next two days, you’ll continue to wear your headband. After this time, you’ll be able to shower and wash your hair normally. However, you will need to be extra careful and protect your healing ears for the next few weeks as you resume light activities. Most otoplasty patients are fully recovered in two to three weeks, but please wait at least six weeks before resuming strenuous activity.
You will notice an immediate difference after your bandages are removed and residual symptoms improve. Whether you’ve waited until later in life, or want to ensure that your child is able to navigate their future with every advantage, an otoplasty can help deliver the confidence needed for success. This small surgery can make a big difference in everyday life, and offers permanent results that let patients stop worrying about their ears, and start loving the way they look.
Corresponding & Complementary Procedures
Optimization Centre patients can choose from a full suite of facial contouring procedures that enhance the face’s aesthetic symmetry. Patients looking to improve the signs of aging and achieve a refreshed appearance can choose to have a facelift performed at the same time as their otoplasty. Because the incisions for both procedures are located on and around the ears, patients can achieve two improvements with only one recovery period.
An eyelid lift or blepharoplasty address allows patients to enjoy a youthful, relaxed appearance and unblocked line of vision. However, Dr. Albert goes beyond traditional methods and uses CO2 laser for blepharoplasty. He can efficiently remove excess sagging skin, relocate fat deposits, and tighten underlying muscle, as necessary with laser technology. This innovative technology reduces scarring, bleeding, and recovery time.
A rhinoplasty or “nose job” corrects nasal size, shape, and symmetry for more visually appealing contours. Dr. Albert makes adjustments to the internal structure of the nose, septum, or tip structure. At the end of the surgery, you will have a better-contoured nose that brings aesthetic and functional enhancement.
Cost of Otoplasty in Boca Raton
An otoplasty treatment is designed to address your unique concerns. The amount of surgical correction and the techniques required, as well as whether only one or both ears are being treated will impact your final cost. Insurance companies will typically not cover this procedure because it is considered an elective cosmetic procedure. During your consultation, the Optimization Centre will provide information on various financing options and specials to make your treatment more accessible.
Can I get an otoplasty for only one ear only?
Not all patients have prominent ear in both ears. Those who want a more symmetrical ear appearance can have an otoplasty performed on only the ear that protrudes.
Can an otoplasty effect my hearing?
No, an otoplasty will not affect your ability to hear because adjustments are made only to the ear’s outer portion.
- Nazarian R, Eshraghi AA. Otoplasty for the Protruded Ear. Seminars in Plastic Surgery. 2011;25(4):288-294. doi:10.1055/s-0031-1288921
- Kennedy KL, Katrib Z. Otoplasty. PubMed. Published 2021. Accessed July 22, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538320/
- Boroditsky ML, Van Slyke AC, Arneja JS. Outcomes and Complications of the Mustardé Otoplasty: A “Good–Fast–Cheap” Technique for the Prominent Ear Deformity. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open. 2020;8(9):e3103. doi:10.1097/GOX.0000000000003103
- Naumann A. Otoplasty – techniques, characteristics and risks. GMS Current Topics in Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery. 2008;6:Doc04. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3199845/