During surgery with Dr. Chartchai in Bangkok, he will remove or reshape a portion of cartilage from the back of the ear and use permanent sutures to make the ear lie flatter. The surgery takes 1-2 hours for both ears. Either local or general anesthesia is used.
You will wear a bulky bandage for 2-5 days to help with the reshaping, possibly followed by an elastic headband for 4-6 weeks. Your ears will be swollen and may ache, throb, or look red. The stitches will be removed in a week, after which you can return to work or school. You will not be able to sleep on your side for 2 weeks. Strenuous activity and contact sports should be halted for 4-8 weeks. Swelling will not completely resolve for about 6 months.
Your hearing should be unaffected, but bleeding and infection can occur. You may have some numbness and scarring. A blood clot may form on the ear and this will need to be drained. The results should be permanent but the problem can recur.
Typically ears stick out if there is too much cartilage in one part of the ear or cartilage in another area isn't sufficiently curled back. Because this procedure works against the ear's natural condition, there is a chance the repair could give way and the cartilage snap back to its original position. This is more likely to happen if the surgery is done as an adult, when the cartilage is firmer and more difficult to remold.