Otoplasty ear surgery or ear pinning surgery is a surgical procedure designed to change the shape, size, and position of the ears. Otoplasty is often performed on young children that have large or protruding ears, especially if it is a topic of teasing or ridicule.
What is Otoplasty Surgery?
Otoplasty surgery is typically an outpatient surgical procedure and can occur after the ears have reached their full size, typically after the age of five.
Patients typically choose to have otoplasty surgery for cosmetic purposes, for example, if the ears are overly large or stick out too far from the head. You may also choose otoplasty to correct a birth defect or as a result of an injury.
The reasons you might consider otoplasty include:
- Ears that stick out too far from the head
- The ears are too large in proportion to the head
- A birth defect or injury
- Dissatisfaction with prior ear surgery
Otoplasty surgery is usually done on both ears to guarantee symmetry. Although otoplasty can change the size and shape of your ears, it won’t change the location of your ears or change your ability to hear.
Risks of Otoplasty Surgery
Although otoplasty is generally safe, there are risks. The risks of cosmetic surgery recovery include:
- Scarring – The scars of otoplasty are generally hidden behind the ears or within the creases of the ears
- Overcorrection – In some cases, otoplasty can make the ears appear as if pinned back
- Issues with Stitches – The stitches used to create the new shape of the ear may work their way to the surface. In this case, they will need removal. This can cause the skin to become inflamed and may require additional surgery
- Sensation – After the otoplasty surgery, the skin sensation in the area feels different. This is typically only temporary.
How to Prepare for Ear Pinning Surgery
The otoplasty surgery will begin with a conversation with your experienced cosmetic surgeon. During the first visit with your plastic surgeon, you will do the following:
- Review your medical history – You will need to review your current and prior medical history, especially any ear infections or issues
- Perform a physical exam – The surgeon will examine your ears, including the placement, size, shape, and symmetry. The doctor will also take pictures of your ears
- Discuss expectations – The surgeon will discuss your reasons for seeking otoplasty and what you are expecting as a result of the surgery
You should avoid aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs, as well as herbal supplements like garlic oil and fish oil that can cause bleeding. You will also need to stop smoking. Smoking retards the healing process and increases the likelihood of infection.
What to Expect from Otoplasty Surgery
Otoplasty surgery uses local anesthesia or sedation. The surgeon will make incisions, based on the type of correction required. Recovery may take several weeks.