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Temporary throbbing, aching, swelling, redness, and numbness are expected. Tenderness can last up to 3 months.

For the first week, keep your head elevated on 2-3 pillows while sleeping.

Please refrain from showering for the first 7 days after surgery. In the meantime, you can bathe, but DO NOT submerge your head in the water. You may gently wash your hair on the 5th post-operative day.

It is difficult to predict how much swelling or bruising an individual will have after surgery. However, bruising is typically gone within 10-14 days. Initial swelling may take 2-3 weeks to subside, but keep in mind final results may take anywhere from 6-12 months. Healing from otoplasty to evaluate the final results takes 1 full year.

Keep your dressings dry. We will provide you with a headband that should be worn continuously for the first 5 days. It should only be removed to perform incision care. After 5 days you will continue to wear it for an additional 7 days only while you sleep.  This helps to hold the ears in good position and protect them.

Avoid bending, lifting, pulling, pushing, straining, and aerobic activities for 3 weeks. You may return to regular exercise 3 weeks after surgery. Moderately strenuous exercise, or contact sports should be avoided for at least 6 weeks.

Children can typically go back to school within 3-4 days after surgery. Adults may return to work after 1 week, or before, depending upon the person, or type of work they do.

When to Call

  • If you have increased swelling or bruising
  • If swelling and redness persists after a few days.
  • If you have increased redness along the incision.
  • If you have severe or increased pain not relieved by medication.
  • If you have any side effects to medications, such as, rash, nausea, headache, vomiting.
  • If you have an oral temperature over 100.4 degrees.
  • If you have any yellowish, or greenish drainage from the incisions, or notice a foul odor.
  • If you have bleeding from the incisions that is difficult to control with light pressure.
  • If you have loss of feeling, or motion.
  • If you have any unusual symptoms.

Keep the area clean. Contact your provider to discuss need for further evaluation and treatment recommendations. If there is a problem, please call our office. Most issues are easily addressed and do not require significant intervention.

If you feel the situation is urgent, call 911 and/or proceed directly to the closest emergency room. Please call us as well.


Follow-up is typically in 7-10 days and should be scheduled by calling our office if it has not already been arranged.