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Otoplasty (Protruding ears) Pre & Post-Op Instructions

Otoplasty (Protruding ears)


  • Have someone drive you home after surgery and help you at home for 1-2 days.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Follow balanced diet.
  • Decreased activity may promote constipation, so you may want to add more raw fruit to your diet,
    and be sure to increase fluid intake.
  • Take pain medication as prescribed. Do not take aspirin or any products containing aspirin.
  • Do not drink alcohol when taking pain medications.
  • Even when not taking pain medications, no alcohol for 3 weeks as it causes fluid retention.
  • If you are taking vitamins with iron, resume these as tolerated.
  • Do not smoke, as smoking delays healing and increases the risk of complications.


  • Usually, you will be up and around a few hours after surgery.
  • Start walking as soon as possible, as this helps to reduce swelling and lowers the chance of blood
  • Do not drive until you are no longer taking any pain medications (narcotics).
  • Children can go back to school after 7 days, if they are careful about playground activity.
  • Adults can go back to work approximately 5 days after surgery, depending upon the occupation.
  • You may resume full social activities in 5-10 days.
  • Avoid any activity in which the ear might be bent for approximately a month.
  • You may resume strenuous activity and contact sports in 1-2 months.

Incision care

  • You may shower 48 hours after removal of the drainage tubes.
  • Avoid exposing scars to sun for at least 12 months.
  • Always use a strong sunblock, if sun exposure is unavoidable (SPF 30 or greater).
  • Keep steri-strips on; replace if they come off.
  • Keep incisions clean and inspect daily for signs of infection.
  • Wear turban-style dressings and bandages for 3-4 days. After that, wear a clean headband at night
    for 3-6 weeks.
  • You may shampoo your hair in 5 days, or as advised by your doctor.

What to expect

  • Temporary throbbing, aching, swelling, redness and numbness.
  • Large pressure dressings and bandages are applied around the ears and head, turban style.
  • Some swelling and bruising may last 10-14 days.
  • Some numbness may exist around the operative areas.
  • Tenderness could last up to 3 months.


  • Usually, there will be a faint scar in the back of the ear that will eventually fade.
  • Do not expect both ears to match perfectly, as perfect symmetry is unlikely and unnatural in ears.


  • All sutures are removed, or will dissolve, in 1-2 weeks.

When to call

  • If you have increased swelling or bruising.
  • If swelling and redness persist after a few days.
  • If you have increased redness along the incision.
  • If you have severe or increased pain not relieved by medication.
  • If you have any side effects to medications; such as, rash, nausea, headache, vomiting.
  • If you have an oral temperature over 100.4 degrees.
  • If you have any yellowish or greenish drainage from the incisions or notice a foul odor.
  • If you have bleeding from the incisions that is difficult to control with light pressure.
  • If you have loss of feeling or motion.
  • If a blood clot forms on the ear.


For medical questions, please call:

  • (310) 204-4111, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • If after hours, ask to be connected with our On-call Doctor.