Your ears are a distinctive feature of your body. They have a series of hills and valleys that surround the ear canal. However, despite their complicated shape, not a lot of people actually pay attention to them, unless they are noticeably different from others. 

When ears protrude excessively, people may notice and that is why it is common to seek otoplasty, the surgical correction of prominent ears. In some cases, the prominence is obvious and is a concern of the parents, long before the child notices. In other cases, insecurities start in the child him or herself at about 7 years old. While some consider having this surgery done earlier, a lot of people choose to undergo ear surgery when they are in their teens. Often parents reassure the children that “they are fine” but when the teenage years arrive, the children push for correction.

Your ears are a distinctive feature of your body. They have a series of hills and valleys that surround the ear canal. However, despite their complicated shape, not a lot of people actually pay attention to them, unless they are noticeably different from others. 

When ears protrude excessively, people may notice and that is why it is common to seek otoplasty, the surgical correction of prominent ears. In some cases, the prominence is obvious and is a concern of the parents, long before the child notices. In other cases, insecurities start in the child him or herself at about 7 years old. While some consider having this surgery done earlier, a lot of people choose to undergo ear surgery when they are in their teens. Often parents reassure the children that “they are fine” but when the teenage years arrive, the children push for correction.

Why is it ideal?

Did you know that undergoing ear surgery in the teenage years is just as common as having one during childhood? In obvious cases of prominent or Dumbo ears it is ideal to have the procedure done early to prevent bullying or teasing. The earliest procedure that can be performed safely is approximately age 4 years.

Is it safe?

Ear surgery is performed when the ears stick out too much or when they have an unusual shape. The procedure is safe to perform at almost any age. Otoplasty in teens or adults can be performed under local anesthesia but if performed in childhood, it requires a general anesthetic.

otoplasty for children

Dr. Charles Thorne specializes in pediatric plastic surgery and is an expert in otoplasty for children. This includes constructing ears for children or teenagers who are born without ears, a condition known as microtia. 

What happens during the Otoplasty Procedure?

When Dr. Thorne performs otoplasty on children or teenagers, he makes sure that he does not overcorrect the ears. Children have softer cartilage than adults and if the ear gets pulled back too much then it may look unnatural for the life of the patient.

During the procedure, a small incision is made behind the ear or under the rim to hide scarring. The cartilage is folded into the correct shape and position and held in place using sutures. The skin incision behind the ear is closed with absorbable sutures so that no sutures have to be removed in the office. Furthermore, the entire procedure takes about 45 min per ear or about 90 minutes for the usual bilateral otoplasty procedure.

Otoplasty recovery for kids and teens

The bandage is removed after 4-5 days. A headband is sometimes recommended during sleep but is not required during the day time. In longer haired patients, usually girls, the ears can be hidden and the patients can get back to most normal activities in a few days. In patients with short hairstyles, it takes about 2 weeks before the swelling and bruising disappear enough to resume a normal life. Dr. Thorne recommends avoiding swimming and sports until 3 weeks after the otoplasty.

If you want more information on otoplasty and how it can help you or your child, set up an appointment with Dr. Thorne. He will gladly explain the procedure, and its risks and benefits.

In The Media


Dr. Thorne is consistently highlighted in every publication profiling the Best Doctors in Manhattan or the Best Doctors in the entire United States. He has been featured in the New York Times multiple years running, as well as America's Top Doctors, and has hosted a radio show on plastic surgery alongside dermatologist Dr. Linda Franks.


  • New York Best Doctors 2019
  • New York Best Doctors 2017
  • New York Best Doctors 2014
  • New York Best Doctors 2008


  • New York Best Doctors 2005
  • Americas Top Doctors 2002
  • Castle Connolly 10th
  • Castle Connolly 6th

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS