Otoplasty or ear pinning surgery

You may feel self-conscious about your protruding ears or children can often experience teasing or bullying. Having prominent ears does not usually affect your hearing, but can be the cause of psychological distress, whether you are young or old.

Ear surgery, also known as Otoplasty or ear pinning is the correction of prominent ears and can improve the shape, position or proportion of the ear.

Misshapen ears can be present from birth and become more obvious with the child’s development or the ear abnormalities can be due to injury to the ear. This can be common in adults after years of playing rugby or boxing.

Don’t let asymmetrical, misshapen or protruding ears be a source of embarrassment, you don’t have to continue to cover your ears with hats or grow your hair over your ears any longer. Ear pinning surgery can be the solution to achieving a more natural and anatomically pleasing appearance.

As with any surgery it is important that you have all the relevant information available to make an informed decision. All of our surgeons have had many years of experience performing this surgery and can assist you in determining the most appropriate course of action.

So contact our clinical aesthetics team at Cosmetic Image Clinics within Aquarius Health and Medispa for advice on how we can help you with your cosmetic surgery query.

Frequently Asked Questions

More information on Otoplasty or ear pinning surgery

Why choose Cosmetic Image Clinics for Otoplasty or ear pinning surgery?

At Cosmetic Image Clinics, we pride ourselves on delivering the highest levels of personal care while providing both surgical and non-surgical options for people seeking cosmetic rejuvenation and cosmetic plastic surgery.

Our selected team of doctors, plastic and cosmetic surgeons, clinical nurses and administrative team, have a wealth of experience caring for men and women undergoing cosmetic treatments.

By selecting our multi-award winning Cosmetic Image Clinics in Aquarius Health and Medispa, you can be assured that your comfort and satisfaction is our highest priority.

Your consultation will be conducted in the strictest of confidence and you will receive professional care and expert advice from our highly trained team.

How is Otoplasty or ear pinning surgery performed?

Otoplasty or ear pinning surgery is performed either in a day surgery centre or hospital under twilight sedation or general anaesthetic and can take from two to three hours, depending on the problem and the technique used. For very young children the surgeon will suggest the procedure be conducted under general anaesthesia in a hospital facility.

Typically, a small incision is made just behind the ear, in the natural fold where the ear is joined to the head, to expose the ear cartilage. The surgeon will then remove the necessary amounts of cartilage and skin required to achieve the right effect. In some cases, the surgeon will trim the cartilage to resize the ear, shaping it into a more desirable form and then pin the cartilage back and secure it with permanent sutures.

Another simpler technique may be possible to achieve your desired result. It involves a similar incision in the back of the ear. Skin is removed and sutures are used to fold the cartilage back on itself to reshape the ear without removing any cartilage.

In most cases, ear surgery will leave a faint scar in the crease of the ear that will be generally inconspicuous and will fade with time.

What do I need to do to plan Otoplasty or ear pinning surgery?

At your initial consultation, the doctor will evaluate your condition, discuss your expectations and recommend the most effective technique. Even when only one ear appears to protrude, surgery may be performed on both ears for better balance and proportion.

You should plan your next visit to the hairdresser to be immediately prior to surgery, as you will need to avoid this type of activity during the healing period.

What is Otoplasty or ear pinning surgery?

Otoplasty is a surgical procedure to reshape or to reduce the size of large ears, or to “pin back” prominent ears closer to the head. Otoplasty is considered to be medically indicated for the correction of ears that protrude more than 20mm and at an angle greater than 35° from the scalp.

In children with severely prominent ears, the procedure is often done early in life between the ages of 2 to 5 years. Timing is always an important consideration. Having the procedure at a young age is highly desirable in two respects: the cartilage is extremely pliable, thereby permitting greater ease of shaping; and secondly, the child will experience psychological benefits from the cosmetic improvement. In children with more minor deformities, the family may wish to wait until the child is older and can participate in the decision. Ears are almost fully grown by age four and, for the most part, the operation is done on children between the ages of four and 14. Parents should consider that the earlier the surgery, the less the child will have to endure teasing and self-consciousness.

Adults may also benefit from ear surgery and may choose to combine the procedure with other facial cosmetic surgery. There are generally no additional risks associated with Otoplasty on an older patient; however the firmer cartilage of fully developed ears does not provide the same moulding capacity as in children.

What are the risk factors of Otoplasty or ear pinning surgery?

Complications are infrequent and usually minor. Nevertheless, as with any operation, there are risks associated with surgery and specific complications associated with this procedure.

A small percentage of patients may develop a blood clot on the ear. It may dissolve naturally or can be drawn out with a needle. Occasionally, patients develop an infection in the cartilage, which can cause scar tissue to form. Such infections are usually treated with antibiotics. In rare cases, corrective surgery may be necessary.

What is the post-operative care after having Otoplasty or ear pinning surgery?

Most people are usually up and around within a few hours of surgery. Soft dressings applied to the ears will remain for a few days to promote the best moulding and healing. Most patients can appreciate the results of surgery as soon as the bandages are removed.

Patients usually experience some mild discomfort but this can be relieved by medication. We will ensure that you have adequate pain medication. If you are accustomed to sleeping on your side, your sleep patterns may be disrupted for a week or so because you cannot put any pressure on the ear areas.

You will be seen in our clinic after surgery when the bandages will be replaced by a lighter head dressing similar to a headband. The ears will still be slightly swollen but this will soon subside. Stitches are usually removed, or will dissolve, in about a week. The headband is worn at night to protect the ears. Headbands are sometimes recommended to hold the ears in the desired position from 2 to 6 weeks after the surgery.

Any activity in which the ear might be bent should be avoided for 6 weeks. Most people can go back to work about five days after surgery.

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