How Much Does an Otoplasty Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 10, 2018

Ear surgery, commonly referred to as an otoplasty in the medical world, can improve the shape and/or the position of the ears, efficiently altering the size, the position and the proportion.

Whether it’s a defect in the ear structure which was present at birth or a misshapen ear, this surgical procedure is able to create a natural shape, bringing balance and proportion to the ears and face.

Otoplasty Cost
Ear on a boat” (CC BY 2.0) by Alberto..

The average cost of otoplasty surgery

The total cost of an otoplasty will greatly depend on the surgeon performing the procedure, the complexity, the outpatient center fees, the anesthesia required and your geographical location.  From the multiple doctors who expressed their thoughts online, the costs, without insurance, seemed to be within the $3,000 to $5,500 range when these factors are taken into consideration.

As this is considered an elective procedure, health insurance providers will not cover the procedure unless it’s related to a surgery and/or complication.  Talk with your health insurance company before the procedure since all policies will vary.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons notes the average cost is close to $3,154, according to 2016 statistics from American Society of Plastic Surgeons. These costs may include the surgeon fees, hospital/facility fees, anesthesia fees, prescriptions, post-surgery garments and/or medical tests.

Prices reported online
Chicago, IL$4,500
Houston, TX$5,000
Jacksonville, FL$3,500
Orange County, CA$4,500
Salt Lake City, UT$3,500
Scottsdale, AZ$4,900
Virginia Beach, VA$3,800
Winter Park, Fl$4,000

Multiple doctors on this Q&A stated their costs ranged anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000, all depending on the surgeon fee, operating room fee, anesthesiology fee and the location of the practice. states the average costs can range from $4,800 to $7,000, but these costs will vary depending on the procedure, the expertise of the surgeon and the length of recovery.

Factors affecting the cost

The complexity of the procedure – The more extensive and invasive the procedure is, the more it’s going to cost.  For example, if the surgery requires reconstruction due to a complicated deformation or traumatic injury, then this could be much more than a straightforward otoplasty due to the process it takes to create a natural-looking ear and the long operating room and recovery time. notes a complicated surgery often involves taking the skin and cartilage from other parts of the body to augment the existing ear structure with the purpose of creating a natural ear.

Surgeon – As with any surgical procedure, especially in the cosmetic world, the surgeon will matter.  As all surgeons will greatly vary with their experience, amenities, accreditations and approach to the procedure, a highly-experienced, U.S.-based doctor will charge much more than a respected doctor found in another country.

Geographical Location – Prices, as you probably know, greatly vary from one city to the next, even if the surgeon has the same level of expertise and accreditations.  Why?  The cost of living.  Low cost of living places, such as Idaho and Arkansas, will always cost much less than a major urban area such as Miami, Dallas and Los Angeles.

Additional Fees – Other fees, aside from the surgery, may need to be considered as well, all depending on your circumstances.  While some surgeons may include these related expenses, others may see it as an additional expense.  This can include the anesthesia fees, surgical facility fees, prescriptions prescribed afterward and/or the garments required post recovery.

Anesthesia Fees – As we mention in the procedure steps below, the cost of anesthesia will greatly vary from one patient to the next as each patient will be unique in the surgical process.  Anesthesia is almost always billed by the hour, so if the surgery goes on longer than expected, the costs will increase.

Facility Fees – A surgeon can either perform the surgery in their own accredited center, an ambulatory center or in a local hospital, all of which will have its own fees which the doctor will pass on to you.  An outpatient center will always be the cheapest option, while a hospital will always be near the top in terms of costs.

The procedure

The surgery may be performed either in the surgeon’s accredited surgical facility, ambulatory surgical facility or a local hospital your surgeon is affiliated with.

Depending on the surgeon’s recommendation, either a local, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia will be administered.

Being sedated, the surgeon will use a surgical technique to create or increase the antihelical fold, which is located just inside the rim of the ear, to reduce the enlarged conchal cartilage — the largest concavity of the external ear.  If the surgeon needs to create an incision on the front of the ear, then it will be created within the creases in order to hide the scars.

After these incisions are made, nonremovable sutures are used to build and from the newly shaped cartilage in its place.

The incisions are then closed using external stitches, making sure the surrounding structures are not distorted.

Once the surgery is complete, bandages and/or dressings will be applied to help keep the surgical site clean and support the new position of the ear while it’s healing.

The entire procedure takes about three to four hours, and directly after the surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room where you’re able to rest for a short period of time while the staff monitors your condition.

The recovery process

After the procedure, discomfort is often felt, such as soreness, aching and/or a throbbing pain, but it can be controlled by pain medication.  Itchiness can also occur underneath the bandages, and it’s essential they remain intact for this reason to avoid a loss of correction and/or the need for an additional surgery.

Immediately after, you will be asked to keep your head as elevated as possible to help reduce swelling and assist with the healing process.

The surgery will offer almost immediate results when the dressings, which are used to support the new shape of the ear, are removed.  With the ear now positioned closer to the head, the surgical scars will either be hidden behind the ear or strategically within the creases in the ear.  The bandage will be removed seven to 10 days after the procedure, on average, and even after it’s removed, patients will still need to wear a sweatband for a few more weeks to help with the recovery process, according to Dr. Ricardo L. Raodriguez, M.D.

Ear surgery risks and safety

source:  American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Choosing the right surgeon

A qualified plastic surgeon will always be a board-certified physician from the American Board of Plastic Surgery with an extensive amount of experience, especially in the facial plastic surgery area.  While being board certified will not always guarantee the best results, this certification does require rigorous surgical education and training.

Aside from looking for a board-certified physician, it’s also best to review their credentials, education, the types of certifications held, the number of procedures they have performed and always view before- and after photos from previous patients.

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