Ear Surgery

Cosmetic Surgery of the Ear or Otoplasty - Reshaping and Repositioning


Otoplasty in Philadelphia, South Jersey and surrounding counties is performed by top surgeon Dr. Adrian Lo. Dr. Lo's patients enjoy the normal natural position of the ear in relation to the side of the head after surgery thanks to Dr. Lo skilled techniques.

Otoplasty Surgery FAQ

Am I a good candidate for ear surgery (otoplasty)?

If your ears protrude or stick out too far from the side of your head, then you are a good candidate for the surgery.  This is called prominent ears or outstanding ears. The surgery to correct this is called otoplasty or sometimes “ear pinning”.

How did I get my “prominent” ears?

Usually, you are just “born” with it and your ears developed this way. Prominent or outstanding ears can definitely be a genetic trait and “run” in families. Perhaps one of your parents also has prominent ears or even a brother or sister.

What is the treatment for my prominent or outstanding ears?

The only treatment is surgery called otoplasty. During the surgery your ears are set back closer to side of your head, at a normal angle, and your ear reshaped to a normal contour.

What is Dr. Lo’s technique to correct my ears?

There are several components to Dr. Lo’s technique to correct your ears so that they will look normal.

1. The conchomastoid angle is decreased and set to a normal angle. With this surgical maneuver, Dr. Lo sets your ear back to the side of your head so that it is normal. This is done with permanent sutures underneath your skin. A small ellipse of skin on the back of the ear is also removed to help maintain this angle.

2. Your cartilage in the top half of your ear needs to be reshaped to a normal curvature. This part of the ear is called the superior antihelical fold and is often flat, and Dr. Lo will recreate the curvature giving you a normal look to the top half of your ear.

3. With the two surgical techniques mentioned, your ear will now be smaller and more proportionate to your face and not appear too big.

4. Your earlobe may need resculpting to complete your new look.

What is the advantage of Dr. Lo’s technique over other techniques?

Dr. Lo’s technique reshapes your ear to give you a more natural looking ear. Because your cartilage is reshaped the long term results are more lasting. It does not depend on sutures/stitches that may be felt over time, break with time, or begin to extrude or come out of skin over time.

How long is the surgery?

Ear pinning surgery takes about 1 hour.

Where is the surgery performed?

Dr. Lo performs all his ear surgeries in the safety and sterility of Pennsylvania Hospital or the Tuttleman Surgicenter. It is outpatient surgery, and you go home the same day.

What type of anesthesia is used for the surgery?

You have a choice of anesthesia for your surgery. You may have a general anesthesia where you are completely asleep. A twilight sedation anesthesia is often recommended. With twilight sedation, the ear is numbed with local anesthetic and you are made comfortable with medications through an intravenous.  Your ear surgery may also be performed with just local anesthesia where you are completely awake.

What is my recovery like?

The procedure is done as an outpatient, which means you go home the same day. You will have a soft gauze wrap around your head covering your ears.  When you are resting, your head/ears should be elevated at about 45 degrees on several pillows. You are allowed to do normal activities that are not strenuous and no heavy lifting. This is to allow healing to occur and to avoid bleeding. You will return to see Dr. Lo in 2 days, and the head/ear dressing is removed. At this time, you will be able to see the early results of your surgery and you should be happy! The ears at this time will be corrected and reshaped but will have some swelling, mild redness and bruising. At this time, you can wash your hair, take a shower and allow water to run over your ears. All the skin stitches dissolve by themselves. You will be advised to wear a light ear compression sweatband for 3 weeks at home and at night.

How many times to I need to see Dr. Lo after the surgery?

Your first visit with Dr. Lo is two days after the surgery, when your head/ear dressing is removed. After that visit, you will be scheduled to see Dr. Lo one week later, one month and three months. Of course, you are allowed additional visits if necessary to monitor your healing.

How do I prepare for my surgery?

Two weeks before surgery, you should stop all medications that can increase bleeding during surgery such as aspirin, Aleve, Naprosyn. All herbal medications should also be stopped as they can cause bleeding and interfere with anesthesia.

Some patients will intentionally grow their hair longer to cover their ears, as after surgery, the ears can be swollen, bruised and red for 1-3 weeks.

How much time should I take off work or school?

Once the head/ear dressing is removed in 2 days, you should be able to return to work or school as long as you avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities. Remember that your ears right after surgery may be swollen, red or bruised. If you have long hair, it can cover the ears as they are healing. Most patients will take about 5-7 days off work or school. Typically if you have your surgery on a Tuesday, you might go back on Monday or if you have surgery on Thursday, you might go back on Monday. It really depends on your schedule and how you feel.

Is otoplasty/ear pinning surgery painful?

After surgery, your pain should be minimal. You will be given strong pain relief medications afterwards that you will take as needed. If your pain is not too bad, you may just take Tylenol. The head/ear wrap maybe uncomfortable but is quite tolerable.

When will I see the results of my ear surgery?

You should see results right away, when the dressing is removed in 2 days. Often your ears will look “overcorrected” for 1-2 weeks but as healing continues, your ears will settle into a normal and natural look. It will look almost completely normal at 3-4 weeks.

What are my restrictions after ear surgery?

You should avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for 2 weeks. Walking is fine and light weightlifting may be started at 2 weeks.  No contact sports for 4-6 weeks and avoid any sports that may pose a risk to your ears. For example, soccer should be avoided as the ball may hit your ears.

What are the risks of ear pinning surgery?

Complications after ear pinning surgery are not common. Risks include bleeding, infection, temporary and permanent loss of feeling to the skin of your ear, skin discoloration, and healing problems.

Will my right ear and left ear be the same after surgery?

Asymmetry is part of the natural human body. Your right ear and left ear after surgery will not be exactly the same or even. The ears will look good after the surgery and you will be pleased with the results but the right and left ear will have minor differences in shape, size and the amount of setback in relation to the side of the head. This is normal.

How much does the surgery cost?

The total cost of otoplasty/ear pinning surgery is $5,520.00. This includes all hospital and anesthesia charges. This does not include any prescription medications or the sweat band.


If your ears protrude excessively out from the side of your head (prominent ears or outstanding ears), then otoplasty or ear pinning surgery can bring the ears closer to your head and in a more natural position. Ear cartilage can also be reshaped to give a normal shape to your ear. By bringing your ears closer to your side of your head and reshaping your ear cartilage, Dr. Lo will adjust your ears into the normal, natural position.

Dr. Lo has been performing ear correction surgery for 22 years, beginning with otoplasty and ear reconstruction surgery for children at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.  Now, Dr. Lo concentrates exclusively on teenage and adult patients that require otoplasty surgery, but did not have the opportunity to have otoplasty surgery as a child. The majority of his adult patients are extremely pleased to have finally achieved the normal ear shape and position they have always desired.

Dr. Lo's Technical Approach for Otoplasty Surgery

Since 1991, Dr. Lo has been using a proven otoplasty technique that gives natural and long lasting results. Your cosmetic surgery is performed at the hospital or surgicenter on an outpatient basis. You arrive at the hospital one hour before the surgery. During the surgery, you will be made comfortable by the anesthesia doctor using twilight sedation or general anesthesia. The procedure takes about 1 to 1 ½ hours. The cut or incision is made behind your ear, so that after healing, the incision is not normally visible. Your ear cartilage will be reshaped to give it the normal curve and contour that is often missing. Your ear will then be set back or placed in the correct position at the side of your head. If one ear seems to protrude more than the other ear, adjustments will be made to make it as even as possible. After both ears are repositioned, the incisions are closed and a dressing is applied to both ears. After the surgery, you will stay in the recovery room for a period of time before being allowed to return home with a family member, friend or caregiver. After the surgery, you will be instructed to keep your head elevated to decrease the swelling and pain. Pain relief medication, if needed, is usually taken for 1 to 3 days. You are allowed only light activity until your first scheduled visit to see Dr. Lo approximately 2 days after your otoplasty surgery. At that time your dressing will be removed. Your new ear profile and position will be immediately seen. There will be some bruising and swelling that will resolve over the next 1 to 3 weeks. At this time, you will have to wear a sweatband or sports band to keep the ears in the set back position for 1 additional week. After that, you are encouraged to wear the sweat band at home, at night and during sporting activities for an additional month.

Your Otoplasty Surgery

If you wish to improve the shape and position of your ears, call for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Lo. During your personal consultation, Dr. Lo will discuss with you the role of cosmetic surgery of the ear or otoplasty in helping you achieve your goal of a normally positioned and shaped ear.


Go to Dr. Lo's Before & After Ear Surgery / Otoplasty Photos

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