Saioa Echebarria Orejas


Thread Otoplasty with Dr. Merck

On April 2nd, 2013 I had ear surgery. It’s called otoplasty. I had protruding ears and now they have “stuck” to my head. Now my hair pulled back looks much better. For sure the first day I looked weird but I certainly look better now…:)

I hadn’t done it earlier because the traditional method didn’t fully convince me (cutting and modifying the cartilage). The ear ends up being more stuck, yes, but it deforms the lobe and looks really weird.

The Doctor
However, about seven months ago I found on the Internet the Thread Technique of Dr. Merck ( He’s a German plastic surgeon that after 30 years of using the traditional technique invented this new procedure using thread that pulls the ear toward the head without deforming them and without scars. I liked what I saw on his web page a great deal and the patients’ comments in forums, so I went for it. 

So on April 2nd, 2013 at 9am in the Quiron Hospital San Camillo of Madrid the doctor explained how he was going to do the procedure. I paid 2,920€ (this price is for Madrid. 500 is for the clinic where the procedure is done and they charge it as OR fees and the rest is for the doctor. It seems really cheap considering the results.) and at 11 he began. Local anesthesia in one ear first, they adjust it to what it should be and then the same on the other ear. It was all over by 13:15.

Un día antes de la intervención
1 day before surgery

I’ll tell you how much it hurts and how the process goes so you have an idea. In surgery they poke the ear. It hurts about the same as when you get anesthesia at the dentist, manageable pain in my view. Then for one hour the ear is sewn like a piece of cloth to the head (I’m only speaking of the sensation I had since I didn’t see it…). Furthermore, before finishing you can see yourself in the mirror to see how it’s going to look. If you want the ear even more stuck to the head – as was my case- he adjusts it. Incredible.

Then he does the other ear. The operation barely hurts and the ears barely hurt during the three to four hours later. Hooowever, the bad part comes later, ha, ha…Three to four hours after finishing everything the anesthesia wears off completely and the pain begins. The ears swell and hurt constantly as if you had been kicked in each ear. The doctor will prescribe an antibiotic and ibuprofen for the swelling (anti-inflammatory) and Gelocatil with codeine for the pain (analgesic), but the first night you likely won’t sleep. It hurts a lot and you won’t find a posture to alleviate it (and the band that you have to put for a month doesn’t help. With gazes the first day, of course.) But so you know, the pain is less severe than with the traditional method, from what I’ve been told. The next day, I asked an aesthetician friend of mine and she told me to take the antibiotic that I was prescribed (Cefuroxim Ratiopharm 500 mg) per the instructions (every 24 hours for two days), but to take Nolotil instead of Gelocatil as analgesic and alternate it with 600 g of ibuprofen per the indications. And to not forget to take Omeoprazoi if I don’t want to get a stomach ulcer!

The fact is that the day after the operation the ears continue to hurt a lot. Not as much as the previous afternoon, but still a lot. The ears will be swollen, red and on top of that you can’t wash your hair for two days (nor sunbathe for a week and under no circumstances touch the scabs after showering until they go away), hence it’s best to not make plans with anyone that you want to impress for three days following the procedure. By the afternoon the pain begins to diminish and by the second night you’ll be able to sleep. Not straight through (I woke up in the middle of the night, but I took the Nolotil and was groggy…) but at least you’re able to rest. From day four, the pain is much more bearable and by the sixth day it only hurts if you get hit on the ear…12 days later it just bothers you a bit to sleep. You can in fact rest on the ear and can be on it for some time. They only hurt if you hit yourself or if without thinking about it you push them frontwards…17 days later you can sleep resting on the ear. They itch a bit!

Dias siguientes a la intervención
A few days after surgery. Ouch! (They look worse than they feel…)

A month later I still have stiches behind the ears. All of the scabs in front have fallen off but the stiches in back haven’t yet (small dark threads). The doctor tells me via email that I must wait. A week later they have disappeared. They fall on their own. Don’t touch them!

Sin puntos
No stitches anymore

Two months later the ears don’t hurt at all unless I give myself a sharp blow. Buuut…I realize that in the left ear a thread has emerged to the surface!!!! Grrrr. It’s almost invisible because it’s transparent. I sent an email to the doctor and he tells me not to worry. I will need to have surgery again to have it fixed but it will be easy. Apparently it happens sometimes to those with very fine skin.

El Hilo que se salió
A thread poked out…

Hence, on July 23 (I couldn’t do it earlier because I travel a lot) I went to Palma de Mallorca Hospital Quirón Palmaplanas to have it touched up. Don’t lie to yourself, plastic surgery requires touch ups most of the time. This one is no exception. Therefore, I’m off to operate once more but only on one ear. It lasted just as long if not longer than the previous time because he had to remove the defective thread. He left it perfect. The post operation is the same, but since I knew what to except and it being only one ear, I slept fine from day one making it all the easier. (I returned to Madrid by plane after leaving the OR. I left alone for Mallorca that same morning, so you have an idea…)

And you look hot or handsome, so no complaints; it is definitely worth it. Go for it!!!! I’m 38 years old but children can be operated on from 5 years of age. Additionally, they get general anesthesia and of course recuperate much better than we do.

Resultado final
Final Results

If you want more information, I’m on LinkedIn or use this blog’s contact form. I have no affiliation with Dr. Merck – aside from being a new fan, of course. If you want more information as a patient, send me a note I don’t mind helping you in anyway I can. Seriously this man is brilliant. I’m not surprised that people come from all over the world (Europe, China, USA, South America) to be operated by him in Spain (Madrid, Palma or Tenerife) or Germany.

Greetings! :)

15 Responses to "MY AWESOME NEW EARS!"

  1. Cristina Risso
    Cristina Risso 2 months ago .Reply

    This is a great review. I would like to go for it but a little scared to only see three other pictures of results (four with yours) and almost no reviews. Are you still happy with the results? Thank you , Cristina

  2. Kiki
    Kiki 1 year ago .Reply

    Hi Saioa

    Thanks for sharing your photos and details of the process. Just a quick question … how long do you reckon you ears looked red and swollen? I know it is different for each person just trying to get an idea how long until I could wear my hair up again.

    Many thanks

    • Saioa Echebarria
      Saioa Echebarria 1 year ago .Reply

      Hi, Kiki! They look pretty bad for a week and it takes another second week still swollen…I would say they looked good again within 2 weeks… Best!!!

  3. Tim
    Tim 1 year ago .Reply

    How do I get in contact with him or what is his email, I would really want this done to me, if Someone could drop me an email with his details please it would be much aprreciated

  4. Ab
    Ab 1 year ago .Reply

    I had to get mine corrected twice as the stitch became visible and infected. Has this ever happened to you? Or to you just refrain from touching your ears to avoid infection?

    • Saioa Echebarria
      Saioa Echebarria 1 year ago .Reply

      hi! my stitch became visible once too in one of my ears…that was right after the first surgery.., so I got it corrected and everything is perfect since then. I touch my ears normally, I wear glasses everyday and everything is fine…I hope you go back to normal soon!:)

  5. Morris
    Morris 2 years ago .Reply

    Great post, thanks! 3-4 years later, are you still just as satisfied?

    • Saioa Echebarria
      Saioa Echebarria 2 years ago .Reply

      I’m even more satisfied! My ears are perfect and I feel great! I would do it again for sure!!!

  6. O
    O 2 years ago .Reply

    Had the operation a week ago. I was slightly worried about what they call ‘over-correction’ and they did I believe over-correct my ears. I don’t think it helped when the Dr said sometimes they come out sometimes they don’t!

    Anyway they have come out, slightly, which is what I wanted.

    I’m happy with how everything has turned out, and would say ‘go for it’ if you are contemplating this method.

    I have some reservations about you being in ‘control’ and having a say – yes there is a hand held mirror and you do have some say, but the mirror and being sat up will be more for their benefit than yours.

    Ultimately they want to build/ correct the perfect ear, to some sort of ear standard, this will take president over the ear suiting your face.

    That aside I’m still very happy.

  7. O
    O 2 years ago .Reply

    Going for the procedure in two weeks, thanks for the info :)

  8. R
    R 2 years ago .Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story on this website. I checked it while looking around for info on this procedure and your story really helped a lot! Had it done a year ago myself and just as satisfied as you are. Thanks!

    • Saioa
      Saioa 2 years ago .Reply

      great!!! I’m glad it was helpful. and thanks for sharing… :)

  9. Isaac
    Isaac 2 years ago .Reply

    HI You say you will give info to people with questions but you never reply ? Email me please.

  10. Peter
    Peter 4 years ago .Reply

    Hi is it possible I can ask some questions via email? Thanks peter

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