Procedure Spotlight

  • Corrects prominent ears – commonly performed on children, however adults can have the surgery as well
  • Sets large, protruding ears back closer to the head
  • Should be done when ears have undergone most of their growth (around 5 years old)
  • 7-14 days down time after the procedure

Adults can also undergo surgery but less commonly. The surgery aims to reduce protruding ears by setting them back closer to the head. Depending on the shape of your ears Dr Safvat might also have to change the shape so they are more aesthetically pleasing. Generally, otoplasty is postponed until the ears have undergone most of their growth. This is usually around 5 years of age. The operation can be performed at any age after that, even in adulthood.

Protruding ears can negatively affect a child’s school years, which is why many parents choose to schedule the surgery as soon as it’s possible. In adults, protruding ears can cause them concern in both personal and professional situations.


Otoplasty surgery is performed in a fully accredited private hospital, usually as a day procedure. In the case of children, a general anaesthetic is preferred.

To complete the procedure, an incision is made behind the ear. The ear cartilage is moulded to achieve the desired shape of the ear. Skin and cartilage may also have to be removed as needed. The incisions and the resulting otoplasty scars are well concealed on the back of the ear. Any scarring will fade to almost invisible depending on skin quality. The average otoplasty procedure generally takes about two hours to complete.

Procedure Snapshot

Anaesthetic Type: General Anaesthetic (in most cases)
Length of Surgery: 2 hours
Stay in Hospital: Day Stay
Downtime: 7-14 days


After the operation, the head is wrapped in a surgical garment (like bandages), which needs to stay intact for around a week. After a week this is removed and a headband is worn at night for a month. The bandages and headband will keep the ears in place and protected until they’re fully healed.

You can expect the ears to have some bruising and swelling, which generally subsides one to two weeks after surgery. There may also be some skin puckering that can take a couple of weeks to months to settle.  Pain and discomfort are to be expected in the first few days after surgery. Dr Safvat uses long lasting local anaesthetics so the first 24 hours might not be that painful. But once the local anaesthetic wears off there may be some pain that can be managed with pain medication such as paracetamol. Stronger pain relief can also be prescribed if needed.

It is usually recommended that patients take about 7-14 days off school or work. Any vigorous physical activity is discouraged within the first 4 weeks post-operation. Any activities that could injure the ears after surgery are discouraged in general. This is mostly contact sports such as rugby, wrestling and boxing.

Patients can also expect some numbness in the area following surgery but sensation gradually returns over the course of two to three months.

The results of the surgery are immediate but it will take some time for the swelling to subside. This is when you will see the final results of the procedure. The results of otoplasty surgery are permanent, provided the ears are not injured again after surgery.


In children, ears should have undergone most of their growth around 5 years of age. The child must have overall good health and understand the downtime after the surgery to ensure good results.

In adults, smoking has been shown to cause significant complications in Otoplasty surgery. Dr Safvat will insist that you stop smoking a minimum of 3 weeks before your surgery. Ideally you should be in the normal BMI range before your surgery.


There is no way to prevent scars completely after surgery and everyone can scar differently. However, the techniques Dr Safvat uses to suture his wounds are designed to minimise scarring. What’s more, any scarring will fade over time, especially if they are cared for correctly. The incisions for Otoplasty are behind the ear, making them less noticeable.

Dr Safvat will provide you with his specific protocol for scar management that will help you protect and care for your incisions in a way that will minimise scarring.

Dr Safvat can also include LED Light Therapy sessions (available in Miranda only) which will assist with wound healing, scarring and recovery (more so for adults than children).

Patients who have followed Dr Safvat’s protocol for scar management diligently have been very pleased with their progress in reducing and fading of scars.


While all care and diligence is taken by Dr Safvat to minimise or avoid complications, any surgical procedure can be associated with some general complications and/or specific complications related to the surgery you are having. Choosing a Specialist Plastic Surgeon such as Dr Safvat and having your procedure done in an accredited hospital minimises risks as does using an accredited Anaesthetist.

Some general surgical potential complications are:

  Infection that may require antibiotics (Dr Safvat prescribes all patients antibiotics after surgery to minimise this risk).

  Allergic reaction to dressings and other items used during the procedure.

  The formation of blood collection (haematoma) which could require additional surgery.

  Scars heal differently in different people. Some people are genetically prone to develop keloid scars. Hypertrophic scars develop when there is a complication in the healing process. Whilst not ideal, there is no threat to your health if you develop these.

Some potential complications related to Otoplasty surgery specifically are:

  Irregularity of shape.


  Nausea and loss of balance related to fluid accumulation within the inner ear – usually temporary.

  Ulcers may develop over small areas of skin overlying the cartilage of the ear which could take a few weeks to heal.

  Temporary loss of sensation in the skin around the surgical site and surface of the ears.

  Increased sensitivity to cold or touch.


Otoplasty has an item number for those that are under 18 years of age. In adults, Otoplasty is considered a cosmetic procedure and rebates will not be available from Medicare or Private Health Funds. If the item number is applicable, patients will get a rebate from Medicare and their health fund and the hospital costs should be covered by private health funds. This will depend on the patients’ level and type of cover.

At the first consultation, Dr Safvat and his team will assess your eligibility for the item number and discuss all the costs associated with otoplasty surgery.

Frequently asked questions


Patients who are healthy and have realistic expectations about what the surgery can achieve are suitable for Otoplasty Surgery.  Surgery before the age of 5 is usually not recommended. Otoplasty is an elective procedure, meaning that it is a matter of choice and not necessarily for good health. In the case of a child, the child’s feelings should be considered thoroughly and they should not be forced to have the procedure. If a child opposes the surgery, it is better to delay the procedure until they are ready for it.


The results of otoplasty surgery are permanent, provided the ears are not injured again after surgery.


Yes, it’s very common for patients to pair an otoplasty procedure with earlobe repair. Age, heavy earrings and injury can cause the earlobes to stretch or even tear. To repair the earlobes, any excess skin is removed and any torn areas are stitched back together. There may be some slight scarring on the earlobes but it’s barely noticeable. The scars will fade over time too.


If you’ve come across the term ‘pinnaplasty’, you may be wondering how it’s different to otoplasty. The answer is that it’s not. Pinna simply refers to the part of the ear that projects past the head. Plasty refers to the art of moulding and reshaping.


If for any reason you are still not happy with the appearance of your ears, it is possible to undergo a second otoplasty procedure. Before you do, it’s best to speak to Dr Safvat about your expectations. All too often, it’s the expectations about what can be achieved that leaves patients’ unsatisfied with their results. Secondary procedures are also common among those who injured their ears again later in life. As long as you are physically healthy and know what can be achieved, there’s no reason why you can’t undergo a second procedure.

Where does Dr Safvat perform this procedure?

Dr Safvat does the Otoplasty procedure in the Sydney region (Sutherland Shire and Inner West) as well as in the Southern Highlands, NSW. He only operates in fully accredited Private Hospitals, these being Kareena Private Hospital (Caringbah), Strathfield Private Hospital, Southern Highlands Private Hospital (Bowral) and Ramsay Surgical Centre Miranda.

Before and Afters

Before and Afters for this procedure cannot be shown on our website.

You must be over 18 years to view Dr Safvat’s before and after image galleries

 Dr Safvat is a fully qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeon. Every patient is unique and results may vary. Any surgical procedure carries risks which need to be discussed with your doctor to ensure you are fully informed and realistic outcomes have been explained. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

These photos are of actual patients of Dr Safvat. Each has given consent for the photos to be used by Dr Safvat only.


Registered Medical Practitioner, Specialist Plastic Surgeon (specialist registration in Surgery – Plastic surgery).

Dr André Safvat – Specialist Plastic Surgeon

Renowned for his dedication to his patients, his attention to detail and impeccable outcomes, Dr Safvat’s unparalleled expertise is reflected in the quality, professionalism and dedication of every member of our team.