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Ear Pinning / Otoplasty


Ear Pinning / Otoplasty

Otoplasty or ear pinning is a surgical procedure designed to treat large ears and is performed on both children and adults. Malformed ears can be a significant source of stress for you or your child. As the ear forms, some areas of the ear can become more prominent, while others can lose their strength and cause prolapse or flopping. There are many different types of anatomical abnormalities. As dual Board-Certified surgeons in both Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery (Ears Nose and Throat Surgery), and Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, we are specifically qualified to reconstruct the ear.

Most patients complain of how prominent or large their ears appear. Others are more concerned with a prominent ear lobe, a cupped ear, or a floppy ear. Athletes (mainly wrestlers) can develop an auricular hematoma or even a cauliflower ear after repeated auricular hematomas. In rare instances, the ear is congenitally malformed in a condition called aural atresia.  Our surgeons will examine both the outside of the ear, as well as the hearing mechanism to ensure there aren’t any underlying abnormalities.

The goal of surgery is to produce symmetric normal-appearing results, and improvement is the most important part of that goal. In otoplasty, perfection is difficult to achieve. However, our surgeons will use meticulous surgical techniques to achieve the best outcome possible. Typically, surgery is done under general anesthesia for children, and local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia for adults, on an outpatient basis. Most often, the incisions are hidden behind the ear. If incisions are needed in the front of the ear they are always hidden within a fold of the ear and fade away soon after surgery. Using suture-contouring techniques, permanent results are obtained.

A special band is applied to help keep the ears in position for a few days. There is mild pain, which is easily controlled with pain medication. Children can return to school within a week, and adults can typically return to work sooner. No exercise is recommended for 2-3 weeks.