Otoplasty in Boston

Named Among the Best Plastic Surgeons in Boston

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

Ears normally have a delicate and refined appearance with standard folds and creases. Sometimes, people are born with no ears, malformed ears, or ears that are too prominent, too large, or stick out. 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.

Otoplasty (Ear Reshaping)

Experienced Boston Otoplasty Surgeons, Dr. Taylor and Dr. Sullivan can create the delicate structures and a normal appearing ear with less prominence. The 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 based on each individual.

Otoplasty can often be performed under local anesthetic for adults or a short outpatient operation for children and teens. The otoplasty procedure is performed through incisions hidden behind the ear. Excess skin is removed and the cartilage is then sculpted and sutured to help create the natural folds, less prominence, and a better contour of the ear.

Long-acting local anesthetic is instilled for post-operative comfort, and the incisions are closed with a combination of dissolving sutures and sutures that can easily and gently slide out one week later.

Dr. Taylor and Dr. Sullivan often work together as a team to perform otoplasty. The operation takes approximately two hours. A soft headwrap is worn for 5 to 7 days, which can help reduce swelling and ease pressure. Patients recover quickly from the procedure and return home on the same day with limited discomfort.

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 work and exercise depending on the specifics of what you do. On average, our Boston otoplasty patients have minimal disruption in normal daily activities, take 5 to 7 days off from work, and take two weeks off from exercise. Most patients benefit from wearing a headband at night while sleeping for a few weeks.

Ear Reshaping (Otoplasty) At A Glance

Ideal Otoplasty Candidate

  • Children at least 6 years of age
  • Teens
  • Adults


  • 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

Torn Earlobe Repair

The earlobe can become split due to trauma, slow migration of earrings, or dilation of earlobes with ear gauges. These changes can be carefully repaired to restore the normal fullness and curve of the earlobe. Some patients may want to pierce their ears again several weeks after they have healed from the procedure.

Earlobe repair is performed gently and requires only local anesthetic in the office. There is little to no pain or discomfort and most patients use only Tylenol and Ibuprofen postoperatively. Our Boston otoplasty patients have little to no disruption in their schedule with work, exercise or activities. The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes and requires no bandages or dressings. Sutures are removed 7 to 10 days later.

Ear Reconstruction

Ears can also be rebuilt or created using rib cartilage. Other common causes for ear surgery are traumatic injuries or skin cancer. Traumatic injuries can range from cuts or split ear lobes from earrings to ear amputations. Skin and cartilage and requires removal and delicate reconstruction for cure.

One of the most technically difficult and demanding operations is this example of an otoplasty Boston plastic surgeons, Dr. Sullivan and Dr. Taylor published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Fewer than fifty successful operations such as this have been reported around the world. Dr. Taylor and Dr. Sullivan successfully restored this patient's ear after a dog bite injury. The ear and the blood vessels were reattached using super microsurgery and a high powered microscope. The leech, seen in the middle image, was necessary to reduce venous congestion while the body restored blood flow. On the far right, the ear is seen several months later with a normal appearance.

Otoplasty Boston

Keloid Scar

Ear piercings can sometimes develop into large scars, known as keloid scars. The scars can grow quite large like a tumor. These tumors can be treated with steroids and an otoplasty. Dr. Taylor and Dr. Sullivan use a Dermojet to instill steroids into the keloid and do not need to use a needle. Over time, the keloid can soften and flatten and then be removed to restore the natural appearance of the earlobe.

Otoplasty Boston

Ear Reconstruction with Postauricular Flap

This patient has squamous cell carcinoma skin cancer on the ear. The cancer was resected and the ear reconstructed with a postauricular flap. On the right, the ear is seen several weeks later with a normal appearance and cancer cured.

Otoplasty Boston

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

Taylor & Sullivan Plastic Surgery Boston
American Society of Plastic Surgeons American Board of Plastic Surgery Fellow American College of Surgeons American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons America Association of Plastic Surgeons Sigill Massachusetts


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300 Mount Auburn St. Ste 304, Cambridge