Otoplasty (Ear Pinning)
Through incisions hidden in the groove behind the ears, the ear cartilages are reshaped to bring the ears closer to the sides of the head. Permanent sutures maintain the new shape and all sutures are hidden. Down time is just a couple days. Otoplasty patients can’t wait to cut their hair short and go to the beach.
The procedure to reduce excessive ear prominence or deformities of the ear that can detract from the aesthetic balance of the face and restrict hairstyle options. The external ear is composed of skin and a cartilage framework. Otoplasty procedures reshape deformities of the reshaped framework, and position the ear in a more pleasing balance with the forehead and face.
The ears are never exactly the same size or shape. Although their shape and position are improved by Otoplasty, small differences will exist after surgery.
The framework of the ear is cartilage. If you pull it out of place, it tends to spring back to its original position. During surgery, this tendency is reduced by weakening and reshaping the cartilage. Because of this tendency there is a slight chance for reoccurrence of the prominence. In those cases, a revisional procedure may be necessary.
Other risks common to all surgical procedures such as bleeding, infection and scar tissue formation occur in a very small percentage of cases. We encourage you to discuss any which concern you during consultation.
About The Operation
The exact procedure necessary varies with the degree and location of the ear deformity.
Incisions for the otoplasty are placed behind the ear to minimize visibility. In a specific area, the skin is elevated and the underlying cartilage framework is exposed. The cartilage is then reshaped using techniques of scoring, suturing, limited removal or combinations of the three.
The reshaped framework is repositioned to achieve the best balance with the opposite side and to reduce excessive projection. The skin is re-draped, any excess skin is removed, and the incision behind the ear is closed. A gentle pressure dressing is placed to prevent excessive fluid accumulation beneath the skin.
To minimize swelling or fluid collection beneath the skin, you’ll have a dressing on your head to put gentle pressure on your ears and maintain their new position. This dressing will be removed in two to three days. All of your incisions will be carefully closed with stitches which dissolve and don’t have to be removed. You’ll be able to wash your hair as soon as your head dressing is removed the second or third day after surgery. Following Otoplasty procedures, most patients have very little pain. There is mild soreness, mostly when you bump or move your ears, for a week or two. We’ll prescribe medication for discomfort after surgery. Most patients require medication for only a day or two.
You’ll notice some swelling in the ears for two or three weeks following surgery. Most bruising will resolve in the first week or two. During this time, you can cover your ears with hair.
The Stages Of Recovery
Our patients usually want to know about four stages of recovery, hospitalization time, when swelling or bruising is resolved, when they’ll be able to return to work or social activity, and when they can return to full aerobic or strenuous exercise.
For otoplasty procedures, the average is…
- Hospitalization time: Usually performed as an outpatient procedure
- Bruising and swelling resolve: 5-10 days
- Return to work, social activity: 4-10 days
- Aerobic or strenuous activity: 14-21 days