Life is too short to hate the way your ears look. Many of our patients that come in for otoplasty are specifically looking for ear pinning surgery because they have been embarrassed by their ears for as long as they can remember. In grade school, people called them names due to the size of their ears or the way they protruded from their heads. As adults, many patients are unwilling to wear their hair in a certain way due to ear exposure or choose to wear a certain hat everywhere they go. Ear pinning surgery, however, can end this cycle.
Ear pinning surgery, a form of otoplasty, is a type of cosmetic surgery that involves reshaping the cartilage of the outer ear. We can improve the size, shape, and position of the ears during ear pinning surgery relatively quickly. Our ears reach their full size by age five or six, so even children can undergo this procedure if needed. In addition to correcting ears that stick out, we can also correct the asymmetry of the ears due to birth defects, injury, or fix earlobes that are stretched or damaged. Cosmetic ear surgery will not improve hearing, but the psychological benefits for patients can be enormous.
The surgery is performed in our on-site surgical suite under sedation, by Dr. Rice, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon with thousands of hours of experience and an impeccable record of happy and satisfied patients.
Recovery time is 4-7 days, and results are noticeable right away, although it sometimes takes up to 3 months for swelling to disappear completely.
Otoplasty is a common procedure that is open to anyone looking to change the appearance of their ears. While most cosmetic surgery is reserved for adults, otoplasty is also frequently performed on young adults and children.
Most otoplasty procedures are performed on children to prevent teasing and taunting that can be insufferable. If your child has overly prominent ears, otoplasty can solve the problem in as little as two weeks. This procedure can be life-changing for children, especially if done at an early age.
We frequently do another type of otoplasty to reduce stretched or large earlobes that occur as we age. This is a common add-on for facelift surgery and can be done as a simple office procedure if desired.
Otoplasty is usually performed with general anesthesia for children or a local anesthetic with sedation for youth and adults. The surgery typically lasts between two to four hours, depending upon whether we are doing one or both ears. Different ear issues require variations in the procedure, but the following represents a standard ear pinning surgery.
Once the anesthesia is given, the incisions are hidden by making them on the back of the ear. This location gives direct access to the ear’s cartilage. The ear is reshaped by scoring, trimming, or thinning the cartilage and any excess skin that may be present. The ear is repositioned closer to the head, and the incision is closed with dissolvable sutures.
In addition to tucking back prominent ears, it is also common for us to reduce stretched or sagging earlobes that can occur after years of wearing earrings. This procedure is much more simple and can be done in the office with local anesthesia only or performed in conjunction with other procedures while in the surgery suite. The aged appearance of earlobes can be a surprisingly easy enhancement to many facial rejuvenation plans.
Following the surgery, it is normal to experience some swelling, soreness, and discomfort. We will prescribe pain medication to help you manage any pain following the surgery. After surgery, dissolvable stitches will be used, which will take approximately one week to dissolve. We will also wrap your head with special cotton bandages known as “fluff bandages.” After 3 days, these bandages can be removed. We will give you lightweight bandages to wear once the fluff bandages are taken off. These lightweight bandages can be discarded one week after the procedure.
Recovery times may vary, but we usually find that patients can return to work or school in four to seven days. If your child is getting this procedure done, we recommend scheduling it during summer or Christmas break. This will make it easier for him/her to abstain from physical activities and contact sports throughout the healing process.
As for physical activity, we recommend light walking the day after the procedure to prevent blood clots from forming. Avoid any jogging or strenuous activities for two to three weeks, and wait four weeks to resume any heavy lifting. Contact sports should be completely avoided for six to eight weeks.
We pride ourselves in prepping our patients for what to expect and how best to recover from surgery with minimal discomfort. Rest assured that we will advise you every step of the way to get you back to normal day-to-day activities as quickly as possible.
Following the otoplasty surgery, you will notice immediate results. Your ears will no longer protrude as they once did. All swelling should subside within three months, allowing you to see your final results. Once the swelling has resolved, your results will be permanent.
Otoplasty can be a very satisfying procedure for patients, as the results are both dramatic and permanent. The nature of the surgery can cause prolonged swelling, but the results will be worth it.
Otoplasty can be performed on its own or as part of facelift surgery to help achieve the patient’s overall goals.