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Otoplasty is a type of cosmetic surgery that is used to improve the appearance of a person’s external ears. This type of ear surgery is typically performed to bring ears closer to the head or reduce the size of large ears.

Otoplasty can be performed under a general anesthetic as an inpatient procedure (which is generally the case for children undergoing the operation) but is often performed as an outpatient procedure with a local anesthetic. The procedure, which generally takes no more than three hours, typically involves a small incision at the back of the ear where cartilage is reshaped or removed allowing the ear to rest closer to the head. It may also involve creating a fold in the upper ear in order to fix “shell ears” or “lop ears” in which the folds are not properly formed.

After the surgery, patients are typically required to wear a head dressing. This helps to reduce swelling and protect the ears as they heal. After 3-6 days, the dressing is removed and replaced with a sweat band. Stitches are usually removed about 7-10 days after surgery, although dissolvable stitches may also be used.

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