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What is Ear Pinning/Otoplasty?

Otoplasty is a cosmetic surgery that corrects protruding or deformed ears by fixing abnormalities in the ear structure. It repositions, resizes and/or reshapes the ears. In some cases, otoplasty also goes by the name “ear pinning.”

About the Ear Pinning Procedure

Although the exact surgical technique used will depend on several factors, the basics of otoplasty remain the same: First, incisions are made in the ear and used to remove extra fat and skin. Second, the cartilage is contoured and positioned for optimal aesthetics. And lastly, the incisions are closed with stitches.

In most cases, the surgery is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia. When ear surgery is performed on children, the ear cartilage is very soft, allowing for contouring with splints. Adults have much harder cartilage, so the procedure will consist of repositioning or removing cartilage through a small ear incision.

Depending on your desired changes and unique anatomy, your surgeon may decide to make an incision hidden behind the ear. During the procedure, extra soft tissue or cartilage that causes the ear to stick out can be removed. If the ear is missing its normal folds, your doctor can shape the cartilage and create these folds. In many situations, the folds can be created with permanent sutures, or the cartilage can be contoured through targeted scraping. Depending on the desired result and the initial complications, your surgeon might use multiple techniques.

Otoplasty Recovery

Bandages are placed around the head after surgery to keep the ears in place, protect them and help them heal. The initial bandage will typically get swapped out with a lighter bandage within a few days. Patients should keep their head elevated for the first few days and rest as much as possible. Any discomfort can be well-controlled by prescribed medication. There will be some swelling, which will recede over the next weeks and months. Most patients can go back to work or school in a week or two, gradually resuming normal activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are You the Right Candidate for Ear Pinning?

Ideal otoplasty candidates were born with overly small or large ears, or ears with significant cosmetic deformities. You could be a good candidate for ear surgery if your ears are offset or disproportionate to your head. Other ideal otoplasty candidates have suffered an injury that negatively affected the positioning or shape of the ears. As with any surgery, ideal candidates for otoplasty should also be in good health, have realistic expectations and have a positive attitude.

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