TELEOS Plastic Surgery
836 South Arroyo Parkway
Pasadena, CA 91105

Otoplasty Los Angeles - Ear Surgery

Some people are born with ears that stick out from the side of the head and are more prominent than others’. For these people, surgeons have developed otoplasty, or commonly referred to as ear surgery, which surgically sets the ears back against the sides of the head, so the protrusion is minimized and the ears are brought to a normative position on the sides of the head.  Pasadena plastic surgeon Dr. John Gross has performed many of these procedures at both CHLA and USC.

Otoplasty procedures are performed among both children and adults.  In children general anesthesia is used.  In teens or adults LIVS (local anesthesia with IV sedation) can be used and in adults it is possible for only local anesthesia to be used.

The Procedure

Typical ear surgery will last around an average of 2 hours.  The procedure can range from 1 1/2 hours to 3 hours, depending on the degree of correction required.

Dr. John Gross uses a combination of techniques to get a good natural result.  A very small incision is made in the back of the ear, exposing the cartilage of the ear that will be shaped to fit the new position desired closer to the sides of the head. Permanent stitches may be used to maintain the longevity of the new shape of the ear.

Ear surgery can be performed with very little visible scarring, as the incisions are made on the back of the ear in the natural fold, which is usually covered by hair. To promote symmetry, surgery is usually performed on both ears, even if the issue is only apparent in one ear, rather than both.


Otoplasty is an outpatient procedure. Recovery time immediately following surgery is usually very short, allowing the patient to get up and walk around within a few hours of ear surgery. Younger children who undergo general anesthesia will usually need more time to recover, and could stay overnight in the hospital for observation, due to the effects of anesthesia.

Light medication to relieve the swelling and pain can be used in the days following the surgery. In addition, the ears will be wrapped in gauze and bandages which the patient will wear for a couple days, the dressing will need to be changed regularly. A smaller, more comfortable bandage will replace the initial bandage after a few days and headband will then need worn at night.

It is of paramount importance that any activity that could compromise the newly formed ears be avoided for 5 days, in adults, and up to a week for children. That means adults can return to work within 5 days and children can return to school within 7 days, with special instructions to their teachers that certain activities on the playground should be avoided.


One must look at the results of ear surgery as enhancing the natural beauty innate in every patient; the point is not perfection, but the most natural, normative look possible. This is yet another reason why direct and honest communication with Dr. Gross is extremely important.


Ear surgery is best when performed by a board certified plastic surgeon.  To learn more about risks involved with this procedure, please click here to e-mail Pasadena plastic surgeon Dr. John Gross.

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