After the otoplasty procedure, most patients are enthusiastic to see their results. However, it is important to know that there is a recovery period that patients must go through before bandages are removed and their beautiful, new ears are revealed. While patients generally experience some side effects, like swelling or discomfort, only immediately following the procedure, full recovery may take some time. Your surgeon will inform you of proper aftercare instructions, so you heal properly, and know what to expect during the recovery process. While recovery from ear surgery is relatively simple, it is important that you follow your doctor's instructions carefully for the best possible outcome. Ask any questions before the surgery so you have a full understanding of what is required of you. Additionally, make sure that you can invest the time and attention to recover properly. Continue reading for details on ear surgery recovery. Or, contact a qualified plastic surgeon in your area to learn more, or to schedule a consultation.
Immediately After Ear Surgery
Once the otoplasty surgery is complete, the patient's head will be wrapped with special heavily-padded cotton bandages, referred to as "fluff bandages", for healing. After a few days, the patient can remove the fluff bandages, but will need to wear a lighter bandage for another few days. Approximately one week following the procedure, all bandages can be removed.
The patient will then be directed to wear a soft headband that covers the ears in order to hold them in their proper position. Depending on the needs of the patient, the doctor may indicate that the headband only be worn at night, which is when the ears are more likely to lose their new shape.
Important Tips for Ear Surgery Recovery
It is important for patients to know that the appearance of their ears will change from immediately after the surgery to the time they are completely healed. For example, the ears usually appear swollen or bruised right after the procedure, which will subside after some time. Don't be alarmed if the ears aren't instantly what you expected. Here are some important instructions to follow after ear surgery:
- Avoid rigorous activity or any activities that could impact the ears until completely healed - this is particularly important to remember for young children as they should not play or overexert themselves.
- Keep the head cool during the recovery period, especially while bandages are being worn - avoid extreme heat and refrain from using hot blow dryers.
- Do not wash the hair with shampoo for up to one week after the surgery.
- Keep head elevated to minimize swelling - use several comfortable pillows to keep you uplifted while sleeping or resting.
- Try not to sleep on your side during recovery.
- ake any prescribed pain medication as directed to alleviate any discomfort.
- Apply any ointment directed by the doctor to the incision area, so scars heal properly and are not visible.
- Have patience - allow yourself to rest and recover from the surgery.
- Have realistic expectations - understand that the appearance of the ears will gradually improve over time.
- Contact your doctor right away if you experience any complications.
Ear Surgery Recovery Timeline
- Bandages can be removed after several days.
- Resume normal activities approximately one week after surgery.
- Adults can return to work after several days.
- Children can return to school after one week.
- A headband should be worn for several weeks.
- Full otoplasty recovery takes approximately six weeks.
Visit the DocShop gallery to view otoplasty before and after photos.
Photo credit: Arizona Cosmetic Surgery
Find a Facial Plastic Surgeon through DocShop
Are you interested in learning if otoplasty is right for you or your child? Locate a facial plastic surgeon in your area and schedule a consultation appointment with the help of DocShop's comprehensive directory of physicians. Recovery from otoplasty does have side effects, such as soreness and swelling; however, after otoplasty surgery, most patients find that the brief physical pain far outweighs the embarrassment they once felt.