Bat Ears

Prominent ears, “bat ears”, can be embarrassing for both adults and children. Children may be teased at school, leading to low self-esteem. The operation to re-shape or “pin back” the ears is most commonly performed before adulthood, or after the age of 6 years. Older adults, 40 or more, have stiffer ears which do not mould easily.

Surgical techniques

An incision is made on the back of each ear and an ellipse of skin is removed. The underlying cartilage is then scored with a scalpel, allowing it to curl closer towards the head. If the ear is also too large, some cartilage is also removed. When the desired shape is achieved, the ear is then stitched into its new position.

The operation

Medical name: Otoplasty
Duration: 1-2 hours
Hospital stay: day surgery or overnight stay
Anaesthetic: general or local with sedation


Pain factor: mild pain and tenderness for first few days. Nausea, due to the ears being blocked, may occur.
Recovery time: in children, it is best done during school holidays. A turban-like bandaging is worn for the first week. After this comes off, the ears will appear bruised and swollen. A head band or beanie should be worn for another 2 weeks, especially at night. Most patients can return to usual activities, except contact sports, after a week. Earrings should not be worn for at least 4 weeks, to avoid infection or prolonged swelling. The final shape of the ears may not be evident for about 6 weeks.

Estimated costs

Total cost:  $4500 if insured, $5000 if uninsured
Fees are less if surgery performed on one ear only

Risks and possible problems

Perfect symmetry can not be guaranteed as the two sides of our face are usually not identical.  Although rare, re-protrusion of one or both ears may occur, and require re-operation.  If there is excessive pain in the first 1-2 days, unrelieved with tablets, this may be due to the dressing being too tight. Contact your surgeon.

If you need more information, please call 03 8769 8555 or email us at and we will get back to you next business day.

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