Cosmetic/Reconstructive Surgery Of The Ears (Otoplasty Surgical Instructions)

What are the general instructions and follow-up care?

In most situations, a bandage will have been placed to cover the wound. If you are undergoing an otoplasty, a compressive dressing will be placed. You should not remove the dressing because these are holding the external ears in the appropriate position. Your doctor will probably check the ear the next day in the office. If you experience severe pain on only one side, please call the office to report this to the doctor. It may be the first indication of a hematoma. Unless instructed otherwise, the bandages should remain in place for one week. At this time, you are asked to return to the office to have the sutures removed. We usually recommend that you wear an elastic band (ear band-it) at night for the next 6 weeks. It is best to wear the band even during the day when it is "socially acceptable". We discourage facial tanning for 6 months after surgery. If you must be in the sun you should use a number 15 or greater sun block. You may use your usual make-up anytime after surgery. Do not wear earrings or glasses (if possible) for 3 weeks.

After the bandages have been removed, clean the wound with a Q-tip soaked in hydrogen peroxide to remove all crusts. By gently removing all crusts, the wound edges will heal better with a less obvious scar. Apply polysporin ointment, or a similar antibiotic ointment of your choice, to the cleaned wound. If you develop a rash, discontinue the ointment and notify your surgeon. You may wash you face and hair after the bandages have been removed. Avoid excessive scrubbing of the wound.

Use a gentle soap and shampoo. We ask that you stay out of the pool for several weeks, and after that to wear the ear band-it for the next 6 weeks. Numbness, slight swelling, itching, and discoloration are normal complaints, and should go away with time. You should plan to stay in town for 3 weeks to allow for after-surgery (postoperative) care.


  1. A fever greater than 101.5 degrees F which persists despite increasing the amount of fluid you drink and acetaminophen (Tylenol). A person with a fever should try to drink approximately one cup of fluid each waking hour.
  2. Persistent sharp pain or severe one- sided pain which is not relieved by the pain medication you were prescribed.
  3. Increased swelling or redness of the ears.
  4. Drainage from the wound.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


Isaacson, Glenn C., M.D. "Congenital anomalies of the ear." UptoDate. Updated Feb. 4, 2016.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/14/2016

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