What is otoplasty (ear reshaping)?

Otoplasty is the surgery to correct abnormalities in the structure of the ear. The surgery is often targeted for children who are age 4 or over. Some adults also choose to have ear reshaping.

Deformity of the ears may cause social anxiety in all age ranges and may make children vulnerable to teasing. It is important to listen to all your child’s frustrations if he or she has been ridiculed at school or in other social environments.

Often children are born with large ear lobes, protruding or drooping ears, small constricted ears, or ears with missing cartilage. However, traumatic deformities of the ear can also occur (for example a car wreck, dog bite or torn earlobes).

Otoplasty or similar procedures can correct many ear deformities. These procedures aim to improve appearance and self-confidence, but are not typically used to address hearing.

If you are the parent of a child with uniquely shaped ears, an otoplasty can often correct this issue.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/19/2018.


  • American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Ear Plastic Surgery. Accessed 8/14/2018.
  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Cosmetic Procedures. Ear Surgery: Otoplasty. Accessed 8/14/2018
  • American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Otoplasty: Ear Surgery. Accessed 8/14/2018.
  • Wise JB, Sunder S, Quatela V, Constantinides M. Chapter 79. Otoplasty & Microtia. In: Lalwani AK, ed. CURRENT Diagnosis & Treatment in Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. 3rd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2012. Accessed 8/14/2018.

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