Ear Pinning

Ear surgery, also known as otoplasty, is a surgical procedure used to enhance the appearance of the ears. This procedure is frequently performed on children to help prevent the possibility of psychological damage from teasing and poor self-image. Though most commonly done on children five years of age or older, this procedure may also be performed on adults.

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM EAR SURGERY?

Candidates for ear surgery should be healthy and have fully developed ears, which usually occurs around 5-6 years of age. Ear surgery can treat:

  • Protruding ears
  • Oversized ears
  • Undersized ears
  • Asymmetric ears
  • Irregular ear shape

The goal of ear surgery is to enhance the natural proportions of the face and restore a sense of facial balance. The new ears should be symmetrical with one another and should emerge from the head at a more normal angle, without giving the ears pinned-back appearance.

Both ears are typically treated during the same surgery. Some circumstances will require more than one procedure, particularly for extensive reconstructive surgeries following birth defect or injury.

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING YOUR EAR SURGERY

The techniques used during ear surgery will vary depending on the type of correction being performed. General anesthetic or intravenous sedation will be administered to ensure your comfort during the procedure. During ear angle adjustment, incisions are made behind the ear, hidden in the natural ear folds. Cartilage and tissue are removed and the ear position is adjusted.

Once the improved position has been achieved, the incisions are closed with fine sutures for minimal scarring. In some cases, incisions will be necessary on the front of the ear as well. When at all possible, incisions will be hidden within the natural folds of the ear.

AFTER YOUR SURGERY

After the procedure, gauze or bandages are applied to protect the ears from infection. A head band or compression dressing is applied for the first few weeks to keep the ears in place. Recovery periods vary. You will experience some discomfort in the first few days, which can be managed with over-the-counter medication. Some swelling and bruising is likely, which resolves within a few weeks.

In most cases, normal activities can be resumed in 7-10 days, though strenuous activity should be avoided for at least a few weeks. The ears should be protected from accidental impact for the first few months. Incision lines will fade within 12-18 months after ear surgery.

UNDERSTANDING THE RISKS OF EAR SURGERY

Ear surgery has a low incidence of complications. Asymmetry, infection, bleeding, reopening of the incisions, and changes in sensitivity are possible. During your consultation, you will discuss these risks and other procedure details.

IF YOU’RE READY TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP

Patients who are interested in ear surgery should call our office to schedule a consultation. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have regarding your procedure, the possible outcomes and your goals. At the consultation we will discuss your financing options, recovery time and other important details.