If you’re worried about having to wear unflattering garments after your Otoplasty, you have little to be worried about: The head wrap you wear after surgery is only worn for a short period of time. Otoplasty is a relatively non-invasive cosmetic procedure, and you’ll recover from it rapidly.

Here is a rough timeline of what to expect:

Otoplasty Recovery: How Long Before Head Wrap Removed

Day 1: Preparation.

As with any surgery, the first few days go best if you move slowly and rest often. Make sure that any pressing housework is taken care of and try to prepare your meals in advance. You should also arrange for a friend to drive you to and from the surgery itself, as swelling in your ear(s) may leave you disoriented.

Day 1: Surgery.

Most likely, you will be placed under a form of anesthesia. If you have a surgery phobia or need a particularly difficult procedure, you may also be sedated. In either case, you should be ready to leave the clinic in a couple of hours. When you leave, your surgeon will wrap your ear or ears in a compressive garment. This is uncomfortable, but temporary.

Days 2-4: Primary Recovery.

24 hours after the surgery, you can remove your compressive garment. You no longer need compression, but your ear(s) will be vulnerable to trauma, so you need to use a head wrap to protect them. You should wear the head wrap at all times for 72 hours afterwards, changing it regularly. When you change it, you might notice that your ears look swollen or uneven. This is normal and will subside in time.

Days 4-14: Secondary Recovery.

Most major swelling should subside by Day 4. Depending on your personal recovery speed, hairstyle, and confidence, you may be able to return to work. You should still wear a headband at night to prevent damage to your ears while tossing and turning. By Day 8, most patients feel comfortable having their ears out in social situations. By Day 14, you do not need to wear the headband, unless instructed by your surgeon.

Days 14-90: Complete Recovery.

By Day 14, pain and swelling should subside, but healing is still occurring beneath the surface. Complete recovery will occur in 60-90 days, depending on your surgery and health. At 90 days, take a look in the mirror. That’s the new you!