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Ear Reshaping

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St. Luke’s otoplasty surgeons are among the Lehigh Valley’s most skilled and experienced. Our providers are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, having completed extensive training that leads to a rigorous certification process. And due to our large network of over 12 hospital sites, we have access to the latest technology. These resources allow us to perform minimally invasive procedures with results you can be proud of.

What is ear reshaping?

Ear reshaping—or an otoplasty—changes your ears’ shape, size, or position. During the procedure, your surgeon will make incisions either on the backs of your ears or in your ears’ inner creases. Then they can remove excess skin, reposition the cartilage, or repair your earlobes. 

Commonly referred to as an otoplasty, this procedure accomplishes many cosmetic needs–including reducing ear size, fixing misshapen ear cartilage, and correcting ear malformations. An otoplasty can be performed on anyone whose ears are fully developed, regardless of age.

If you want to learn more about ear reshaping—or schedule a consultation with an otoplasty surgeon in the Lehigh Valley—then contact St. Luke’s Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery.


Otoplasty candidates include adults with the following characteristics:

  • Ears that stick out too far
  • Disproportionately large ears
  • Asymmetrical ears
  • Dissatisfaction with previous ear surgery

An otoplasty can positively alter your ears’ appearance or correct a congenital anomaly. So if your ears are a source of insecurity, then ear reshaping is a great option.

Schedule a consultation with a St. Luke’s otoplasty surgeon in the Lehigh Valley to determine if an otoplasty is right for you. 

Having ear reshaping can positively impact your wellbeing and self-confidence. The following list includes some of the most commonly reported benefits:

  • Better facial symmetry
  • Corrected functional issues
  • Improved ear proportions
  • Smaller, flatter ears (including ear pinning)
  • More natural earlobe shape (ear lobe repair)

 Typically done to improve ear symmetry, ear reshaping can dramatically improve your body image and give you a more balanced appearance. 

As with all surgeries, ear reshaping has risks. Some of them include the following:

  • Asymmetry 
  • Changes in sensation
  • Infections
  • Overcorrection
  • Scarring
  • Bleeding

Your surgeon will review a complete list of risks before getting your consent.

Before the procedure

In the time leading up to your ear reshaping at St. Luke’s Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, you can take steps to make your procedure as safe as possible. These include discussing the following topics at your surgical consultation:

  • Goals and expectations
  • Surgical options
  • Results
  • Recovery

As part of your consultation, your surgeon will also do a complete evaluation—which may include the following items:

  • Ordering lab work
  • Taking “before” photos for comparison
  • Assessing medical conditions, allergies, and medical limitations
  • Reviewing medications, supplements, alcohol, tobacco, or drug use 

A week before the procedure, you can prepare at home in the following ways:

  • Filling outstanding prescriptions
  • Purchasing any medical supplies as needed
  • Coordinating transportation and meals as needed
  • Staying hydrated

You should arrive early on the day of your procedure to avoid travel delays.

During the procedure

Ear reshaping can be done on ears of all shapes and sizes. The techniques for this procedure depend on the anatomy of your ears, the extent of cartilage, and the level of malformation—but both surgical options are typically fast and easy.

Ear augmentation

In an ear augmentation surgery, your surgeon will increase the size of your outer ear. This procedure can correct ears that didn’t fully develop or aren’t proportional to the rest of your features.

Prominent ear correction

In prominent ear correction surgery, your surgeon will reposition your ears closer to your head (ear pinning surgery). This procedure can balance out your features by addressing prominent ears–or make your ears more proportionate to the rest of your face.

After the procedure

After the procedure, your ears will be bandaged to protect them. Once your surgeon removes the bandages, you’ll see immediate improvements in your ears—and your surgical scars should be sufficiently hidden. You may experience itching and mild to moderate discomfort, but your provider can provide pain medication. Ear reshaping has permanent results, though you may need additional procedures depending on your goals. 

Your St. Luke’s plastic surgeon will customize your procedure based on your desired treatment results. The typical recovery milestones include the following:

  • Day of surgery: You’ll have localized pain and swelling around your ears. You can wear compression garments to protect your ears and hold them in place during the initial recovery period. 
  • One to seven days after surgery: Your pain and swelling should start subsiding, but you should continue wearing your recovery headband. 
  • One to two weeks after surgery: Your swelling should continue decreasing. Around day ten, you may return to school or work–depending on how strenuous your job is and what your surgeon approves.
  • Three months after surgery: You should have no swelling and will no longer need to wear the recovery headband. However, follow any recommendations from your surgeon.
  • One year after surgery: Your ears should be completely healed.

During your initial recovery, you should avoid sleeping on your side and putting pressure on your incisions.