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What Is Involved in Otoplasty Recovery?

Meshell Powell
Meshell Powell

Otoplasty recovery usually involves mild to moderate pain that may last for a few days and can be treated with over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers. Antibiotics are typically given in order to prevent an infection from developing after the procedure. The surgical dressings should be removed by the medical staff at a follow-up visit, as the ear needs to remain dry during the initial phase of otoplasty recovery. Bruising is normal, and a headband may need to be worn at night for a few weeks after the surgery. Any individualized questions or concerns about otoplasty recovery should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Prescription pain medications are usually given during the first few days of otoplasty recovery to help relieve some of the discomfort caused by this type of ear surgery. After the first few days, over-the-counter pain relievers usually provide sufficient relief from the discomfort. Antibiotics are typically prescribed before the surgery and are continued for the first few days of otoplasty recovery in an effort to prevent an infection from developing.


Immediately following surgery, the affected ear is wrapped in a sterile dressing. Unless there is significant bleeding or drainage, the dressing should not be changed at home. The doctor will schedule a follow-up visit a few days after the otoplasty and will remove the bandages at this visit. When the dressings are removed, it is normal to notice moderate to severe bruising. It usually takes several weeks for the ear to begin to look normal again.

Baths are recommended instead of showers during the initial stage of otoplasty recovery so that the affected ear can stay dry. At the follow-up visit, the doctor will let the patient know when showers can resume. A headband is usually worn at night for several weeks in order to apply the recommended amount of compression. The patient should sleep with the head elevated and avoid sleeping on the affected side until cleared to do so by a doctor.

Complications are rare during otoplasty recovery, although the patient should report any uncomfortable or bothersome symptoms so they can be properly evaluated. Excessive bleeding or drainage should be reported to a doctor right away, as should any potential signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, and fever. Any visual deformities should be evaluated, as additional surgical procedures may occasionally become necessary. Persistent numbness involving the affected ear is usually temporary, although permanent damage to the surrounding nerves is possible.

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