Otoplasty, also known as ear pinning, is a surgical procedure which aims to correct the shape of protruded ears in both children and adults.
Normally, this procedure can be performed in early childhood when your child is around 8 years old. The ear is almost fully formed at that stage and the cartilage thickness and consistency is adequate. It is also recommended to wait until your child is mature enough to understand the treatment, and most importantly, is interested. Otoplasty surgery can prevent the experience of being bullied in school and being teased about your child’s ear shape by their peers.
However, this procedure is not only for children. At some point in their life, many young teenagers and adults may find that they are unhappy with their ears being too prominent, and that they would like to correct their ear shape.
What happens during otoplasty surgery?
Surgery is normally performed under a general anaesthetic but can also be done under local anaesthetic and sedation in adults. It takes 1.5 – 3 hours, depending on if it is for one or both ears. Your surgeon will make small incisions on the back of your ear to expose, or in some cases remove, the cartilage. Then, he will fold the cartilage and stitch the ear back. As a result of this surgery, your ear will be placed closer towards your head which will make your face look more symmetrical and improve your facial harmony.
There are scars resulting from this procedure, however, they generally are hidden behind the ear. There is also bruising and swelling that will eventually subside over a few weeks.
Otoplasty recovery tips
Patients will need to take time off work or school for 7 days to allow the ears to recover and heal. You can rest at home as there is no need to stay at the hospital. Your surgeon will advise you to wear a compression bandage for the first week after surgery and prescribe painkillers to relieve pain. Once the bandage has been removed, you will be asked to wear a headband for extra recovery and support for 6 more weeks.
Am I the right candidate for otoplasty?
While this procedure is suitable for persons of different age groups, it’s important to ensure that you are in good health and have realistic expectations about what the procedure will involve. Having a discussion with your plastic surgeon before deciding whether the procedure is right for you is very important. You can always contact our practice if you have any questions about otoplasty, or if you want to make an appointment.
Dr Rodrigo is a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon in Melbourne. He is interested in Aesthetic Surgery, Rhinoplasty and Facial Surgery.