Otoplastyin Boston

Named Among the Best Plastic Surgeons in Boston

Helena O. Taylor MD, PHD, FACS & Stephen R. Sullivan MD, MPH, FACS

Ears are a part of our anatomy that we typically don’t want people to notice. When ears are too prominent, they distract us and can make us self-conscious. Ears can also change over time with the earlobe getting longer or wrinkled with aging or a split from earrings or trauma. As fellowship trained craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgeons, Dr. Taylor and Dr. Sullivan have extensive experience in the complete range of ear surgery and have published some of their experiences with the most complicated ear problems.

What is Otoplasty?

Experienced Boston Otoplasty Surgeons, Dr. Taylor and Dr. Sullivan can create the delicate structures and a normal appearing ear with less prominence. The otoplasty procedure is also known as ear setback or ear pinning. There are many otoplasty techniques - Dr. Taylor and Dr. Sullivan will customize a treatment plan and use techniques based on each individual to give the most natural appearing ear. Most people who have prominent ears have a weak “antihelical fold,” which can be created surgically to help set back the top two-thirds of the ear. Some patients may have a “deep conchal bowl” with too much cartilage closer to the ear canal, which protrudes the who ear. This, too, can be corrected.

Dr. Taylor and Dr. Sullivan are board certified in plastic surgery and also have extra fellowship training in craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgery, making them very comfortable with this kind of surgery.

Otoplasty is an outpatient operation for children, teens, and most adults. The otoplasty procedure is performed through incisions hidden behind the ear so there is no visible scar. Excess skin is removed and the cartilage is then sculpted and sutured to help create natural appearing folds, less prominence, and improved ear contour. Long-acting numbing medicine provides post-operative comfort, and the incisions are closed with a combination of dissolving sutures and sutures that gently and easily slide out one week later.

Dr. Taylor and Dr. Sullivan often work together as a team when performing ear surgery. The goal is total efficiency and the very best otoplasty Boston has to offer. The operation takes approximately two hours. Patients recover quickly from the procedure and return home on the same day with limited discomfort. A soft headwrap is worn for 5 to 7 days to reduce swelling and pressure. Although there will be some swelling, the correction and improvement in ear shape is immediate and tremendous.

Dr. Taylor and Dr. Sullivan care about your recovery and want to ensure you have a gentle and easy recovery. They will talk to you about when you can expect to return to school or work, activities, and exercise. On average, patients have minimal disruption in normal daily activities, take 5 to 7 days off from work, and take two weeks off from exercise, and six weeks off from contact sports. Most patients benefit from wearing an athletic or fashionable headband at night for a few weeks while sleeping.


Ideal Otoplasty Candidate

  • Children at least 6 years of age
  • Teens
  • Adults without medical problems
  • Nonsmokers


  • Corrects ears that stick out
  • Repairs earlobes
  • Creates natural ear folds




2-3 hours


Local, Sedation (sleepy) or General Anesthesia (asleep)


  • Comfortably at home
  • Most swelling resolves – 2 weeks


5-7 days


  • Activities of daily living – 1 day
  • Light exercise – 1 week
  • Full exercise and contact sports – 6 weeks

Otoplasty Benefits

Many people struggle with their confidence level due to the appearance of their ears. Sometimes when the ears are large or stick far out from the sides of the head, it may feel like they are conspicuous, and it would be more desirable if they were less obvious. If you’ve been dealing with an anomaly in the appearance of your ears since birth, you may be able to finally address your concern. All of these problems can be addressed with otoplasty performed by a skilled surgeon.

This outpatient procedure can:

  • Reduce ear prominence
  • Create symmetry
  • Improve overall harmony of facial features
  • Fix congenital issues
  • Build back self-confidence
  • Happen with minimal scarring

Otoplasty Candidates

The best candidates for otoplasty are in good health overall, nonsmokers, and have reasonable expectations about surgery outcomes. If a patient is looking to correct an aesthetic ear issue involving size or shape and is over the age of five, they are likely a good candidate for this procedure, barring significant other medical conditions. Those with diabetes, bleeding problems, or inflammatory ear disease may not be good candidates for otoplasty. It’s important to discuss any concerns with your provider prior to moving forward with surgery.

Consultation and Preparing for Your Procedure

At a consultation, your surgeon will discuss your medical history, examine your ears and facial anatomy, and talk about your specific reasons for considering otoplasty. This will all help to determine if otoplasty is a good option for you. Our goal is to ensure that each patient receives a surgical plan that is informative and will provide outstanding results. Prior to surgery, you will be asked to stop taking certain medications that can thin the blood and some other supplements. You will be given full, detailed instructions before your surgery day.


Otoplasty can be performed using either local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia in an outpatient setting. Typically, an incision is made in the back of the ear to access the cartilage. Next, stitches are used to adjust the position of the cartilage. Your surgeon may also construct or emphasize the antihelical fold for a refined ear appearance and utilize stitches to shift the ear appearance farther back. After these modifications, any excess skin is removed, and the incision is closed. Patients spend a short time in recovery and should be able to go home the same day.

Otoplasty Results and What to Expect for Recovery

After surgery, you will need someone to drive you home and stay with you for about 24 hours while the anesthesia wears off. Since the incision is well hidden behind the ear, you may also need assistance checking on the incision to ensure that it’s clean and showing no signs of infection. You will need to sleep on your back and slightly elevated for about two weeks to ensure limited movement and proper healing.

People typically feel quite good very soon after surgery, but it may take some weeks for the swelling and bruising to resolve. We do recommend avoiding contact sports for six weeks. You will have follow-up appointments to ensure the area is healing properly. The otoplasty procedure is permanent, except for very rare cases of recurrence, with no maintenance required.

Why choose Taylor & Sullivan?

Top-rated Boston plastic surgeons Dr. Taylor and Dr. Sullivan have been recognized by both Boston Top Doctors and Castle Connolly Top Doctors every year since starting their practice. Along with those honors, Dr. Helena Taylor, MD, Ph.D., FACS, and Dr. Stephen Sullivan, MD, MPH, FACS, are both Harvard-educated, board-certified physicians who believe in aesthetic excellence and exceptional patient care. Specializing in cosmetic surgery, congenital irregularities, and trauma repair, they are committed to ongoing education and performing only the safest and most effective procedures available.

Schedule a Boston, MA, Otoplasty Consultation at Taylor & Sullivan Boston Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery Today

Call us at 617.492.0620 or easily schedule your consultation online!

What Are The Types Of Otoplasty and Ear Procedures?

  • Earlobe repair, also known as a torn earlobe or split earlobe repair, is a procedure to correct split or damaged earlobes often from earrings, trauma, or ear gauges.
  • Ear reshaping, also known as otoplasty, ear setback, or ear pinning, corrects prominent ears that occur in children and persist into adulthood.
  • Earlobe fat grafting, to naturally restore volume to sagging earlobes by fat transfer
  • Earlobe reduction, also known as earlobe shortening, rejuvenates earlobes that become long, wrinkled or deflated with aging
  • Non-surgical Earlobe rejuvenation, to restore volume to deflated earlobes with filler
  • Keloid scar removal, for removal of large scars after ear piercing
  • Ear reconstruction, for repair following trauma, cancer or birth deformities

Faqs About Otoplasty

Is Otoplasty common?

Otoplasty has been one of the most common elective surgeries in the US within the last ten years and is frequently performed by plastic surgeons.

Is Otoplasty painful?

While every patient has slight variations, otoplasty is not typically very painful. Most patients experience some tenderness within the first day that quickly resolves on its own.

What risks are associated with Otoplasty?

Risks occurring with this procedure are rare but could include things like overcorrection, skin sensation changes, or asymmetrical healing.

Is Otoplasty permanent?

Yes, since this is a surgical correction, it is permanent unless it should need a follow-up revision, which is very rare. Very occasionally sutures may erode through the cartilage, causing recurrence of the deformity. This is why we recommend avoiding contact sports and wearing a headband at night for several weeks after surgery.

Will there be considerable scarring following Otoplasty?

A skilled surgeon will be careful to make incisions as discreet as possible; however, some scarring may be visible behind the ears. Typically the incisions are hard to find even when you are looking for them.

Is there an ideal age to undergo Otoplasty?

There is no specific age that is best for otoplasty; however, we recommend patients be at least six years old or older to ensure that the ears have matured fully, and that they can cooperate with post operative care.

Download our Otoplasty Aftercare Instructions here.

Are there any non-surgical alternatives to Otoplasty?

There are a few solutions on the market, but they are unreliable and typically very temporary. Your surgeon can help you determine the least invasive and most efficient method to achieve your aesthetic goals.

What does the Otoplasty procedure cost?

The procedure’s cost will vary depending on whether one or both ears require surgery, what technique will be used, and how long the surgeon anticipates surgery will take.

Download our Otoplasty Aftercare Instructions here.

Call Today 617.492.0620

To schedule a private consultation with Dr. Taylor or Dr. Sullivan, please call the office or request an appointment using our form. We welcome your visit and your questions.

300 Mount Auburn St. Ste 304, Cambridge, MA 02138

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