Otoplasty – head bandage

  • Pain control

    Give paracetamol as required for pain and throbbing (available from pharmacies without prescription). Do not give aspirin. Local anaesthetic is injected into the area at the time of surgery; this should wear off within 24 hours and an increase in pain may occur when the local anaesthetic ceases to have effect.


    The head dressings will be removed at your review appointment. Keep the dressings clean, dry and intact until this time. If the outer bandage becomes loose it can be unwrapped and wound on more tightly with additional tape. Do not remove the inner bandage.


    Encourage quiet activities at home to prevent trauma to ears. Children can go back to school after seven days but must be careful in playground activity. Do not scratch the ears or insert any objects under the dressings as this may cause damage. Avoid any activity in which the ear might be bent for approximately a month. Strenuous activity and contact sports may be resumed after 4-8 weeks.

    What to expect

    Swelling and bruising of the ears may persist for two weeks. Some tenderness may persist for up to three months. There will be a scar behind the ears that should fade over time. Every effort is made to minimise the scarring and achieve the best cosmetic result for your child. You will be given instructions at your review appointment on what to do to prevent poor healing and bad scarring. This may include the use of tapes or massage with sorbolene cream or aloe vera. Avoid exposing scars to sun for at least 12 months and always use a strong sunscreen if sun exposure is unavoidable.

    Do not expect both ears to match perfectly as perfect symmetry is unlikely and unnatural in ears. Sutures will dissolve within two weeks; any non-absorbable sutures will be removed at your review appointment. Rarely, the sutures break down before the ear is permanently fixed in position; this can cause the ear to return to its original position. If this occurs, re-operation is required to fix the ear.

    Medical attention

    Seek medical attention if your child has:

    • Increasing pain or pain not relieved by medication
    • Persistent fever
    • General unwellness
    • Wound discharge or increasing redness
    • Fresh bleeding from the ears


    Your follow-up appointment will be at one of the following:

    • Plastic Surgery Outpatients (Registrar Clinic), Blue Desk, Ground Floor, The Royal Children's Hospital (morning appointment)
    • Consultant Clinic 
    • Consultant Private Rooms 
    • Local doctor

    If you are unable to keep your appointment please call to reschedule.


    Plastic & Maxillofacial Surgery Office - 9345 5391
    Outpatient appointments - 9345 6180
    Plastic Surgery Resident or Registrar - via switchboard on 9345 5522

    Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Speech Pathology and Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery departments. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.

    Reviewed November 2015.

    Kids Health Info is supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation. To donate, visit www.rchfoundation.org.au.


This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.