Cosmetic ear surgery moves large or prominent ears closer to the head. It is most often performed on children. The procedure can be done after a child reaches age 5 or 6, when ear growth is almost complete.

However, if the ears are very disfigured (lop ears), the child could have surgery earlier to avoid possible emotional stress at school. During the most common method of cosmetic ear surgery, a surgeon makes a cut in the back of the ear and elevates the skin to see the ear cartilage. The cartilage is folded to reshape the ear, bringing it closer to the head. Sometimes the surgeon will cut the cartilage before folding it. Stitches are used to keep the cartilage folded and to close the wound.

Additional Information

  • Duration of operation: 2 hours
  • Anaesthetic: Conscious sedation if performed in doctor's rooms (for adults) or general anaesthetic if performed in theatre (preferred for children)
  • Hospital stay: Same day if performed under conscious sedation or 1 night if performed under general anaesthesia


  • Driving: 3-5 days
  • Back to work: within 1 week (depending on the rate of healing)
  • Exercise: 4 weeks (particularly no contact sport)

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