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What is an Otoplasty?

An otoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure performed to change the appearance of the ears. It is an elective procedure and will not be covered by your insurance. There are three main types of changes that can be made to one’s ears:

  • Bring ears closer to the head (ear pinning)

  • Decrease the size of the ears

  • Reshaping

See an Otoplasty performed by Dr. McClellan

Watch Dr. McClellan perform an Ototplasty in the YouTube video below.

Simply click on the picture.

Why do people get an Otoplasty?

People mainly get an otoplasty because they are tired of having ears that they feel are too large for their head. Children are especially likely to be made fun of for having large ears, so parents often opt to have their children’s ears fixed early in life. Although this is a cosmetic procedure, there are actually benefits in doing the surgery why one is still a child. First, the ear cartilage is more pliable (more easily changed) in children. Second, there is less psychological damage to a child if ears are repaired early in life.

Am I a candidate for Ototplasty

Once you have decided that you would like to have an otoplasty, you should first investigate whether or not you are a candidate for surgery. Although one should come in for a consultation to determine whether or not surgery is an option, here are a few of the reasons patients are typically turned away from our office:

  • Dr. McClellan does not perform any elective, cosmetic surgery on smokers. This is for a variety of reasons including poor wound healing and an increased risk of infection.

  • Children must be at least 14 years old. Parents must consider that an otoplasty is not only about aesthetics, but more importantly about the psychological effects it will have on their child.

What are the risks with Otoplasty?

Risks are relatively low for an otoplasty; however, with any surgical procedure, there are risks. Here are a few of the more common risks:

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Scarring

  • Numbness

How is an Otoplasty performed?

An otoplasty is an outpatient (you do not stay overnight) procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital under general anesthesia. An incision is made behind your ear in the natural fold where your ear joins with your head. Skin and cartilage is removed or reshaped as needed in order to achieve the desired result. In some cases, there is a permanent pin placed to keep the cartilage in place. The procedure generally takes 1 to 3 hours.

What can I expect for Surgery and Recovery?

Dr. McClellan will see you the day following your surgery for your post-operative appointment. The soft dressings applied before you left the hospital will be removed and a headband will be placed and must be worn for about two weeks following surgery. The down time for this procedure is minimal. You may return to work as you wish; however, you must be very gentle with your ears.

What should I expect at my consultation?

For an otoplasty consultation you should allow at least 30 minutes in our office. You may come about 15 minutes early to your appointment to fill out the necessary forms. During your consultation Dr. McClellan will give you more information about the procedure and answer any of your questions. It is often helpful to have a list of questions that you may have or something that you need clarification on.

After you meet with Dr. McClellan, you will then be escorted to Becky Miller’s office. She is our patient coordinator and will provide you with the price quote for the surgery as well as give you information about what financial options are available. As the patient coordinator, Becky makes every effort to ensure that you are ready and feel comfortable before surgery. This may include repeat visits to the office or answering any questions that you may have after your initial appointment.

Out of town patients

Dr. McClellan performs otoplasty on many patients that drive a distance from throughout West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Patients frequently come from Beckley, Clarksburg, Charleston, Huntington, and Parkersburg, West Virginia; Deep Creek, Oakland, and Western Maryland, as well as Uniontown and Waynesburg Pennsylvania. Our office is very adept at easing the process of distant consultation, travel and flow-up for our patients.

We have hotel information available and have negotiated special rates for patients who travel.


A few frequently asked questions about Otoplasty you should consider before undergoing surgery include:

Is the surgeon Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
How many of these does the surgeon perform yearly?
What is the incision like?
What steps are taken to minimize infection and complications? 

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