What is Otoplasty?

Otoplasty, ear pinning surgery, or cosmetic ear surgery, is a type of facial plastic surgery procedure done to correct misshapen ears or large or protruding ears. While this procedure can be done for people of all ages, children who are living with protruding or disfigured ears can often greatly benefit from this procedure. When done at an earlier age, the trauma and psychological impact can be minimized if other children make fun of a child’s appearance due to the prominent ears. While the procedure can be done on only one ear, it’s typically performed on both ears.

Who is a Candidate?

Good candidates for otoplasty surgery will be in good health, nonsmokers, and have a positive outlook on ear surgery. This procedure can be done for children aged five and older who are healthy and able to communicate their feelings about ear surgery. Dr. Sweat can help determine if this procedure is right for you during an initial consultation, during which he’ll review your medical history and discuss the procedure with you.

The Procedure

Otoplasty surgery is done under local anesthesia, intravenous sedation, or general anesthesia. The type of ear surgery techniques used can depend on your age. Children’s cartilage is often soft enough that splints can be used to contour the ears during surgery. However, adults have harder ear cartilage, and the procedure must remove or soften the cartilage with small cuts to achieve optimal outcomes. A small incision will be made, hidden behind the outer ear. Extra tissue or cartilage will be removed, folds can be re-created, and permanent sutures will be used to close the incision and bring the ears closer to the head. Because incisions are placed inconspicuously, they are often not noticeable after they heal. In total, the procedure takes about two hours.

The Results

Following otoplasty surgery, dressings will be wrapped around the ears. It is important to keep these dressings in place to ensure optimal healing. Pain medication can be used to diminish any discomfort. Patients are encouraged to sleep in a reclining position, as keeping the head elevated will help to reduce swelling. About one week following the procedure, any stitches will be removed. Final results are often seen after a few weeks, though changes to the ears may continue to occur for up to a year. Care should be taken to avoid trauma to the ears for at least six weeks after the surgery to avoid disrupting sutures, which may be placed to help contour the ear. You can gently wash the area to keep it clean, but avoid any excess pressure.