Ear pinning, called otoplasty, can be performed to address a variety of ear problems, such as reshaping the ears, reducing the size of the ears or bringing the ears closer to the head. Small ears, overly large ears, ears missing their natural folds or very long earlobes can also be addressed in an otoplasty procedure.
Otoplasty can be performed on any healthy adult. We recommend that children with protruding ears have corrective otoplasty only after the age of 4, by which age the child’s ears are fully formed. We suggest that parents not rush into an ear pinning procedure, as their children may not be emotionally ready for such a procedure. However, if your child is experiencing ridicule or embarrassment about their ears, please do come in to see us about an otoplasty procedure, which can make your child’s school years much more pleasant.
How the procedure is performed
Otoplasty procedures are performed under either local anesthesia plus sedation or general anesthesia in our Boca Raton accredited in-office surgery suite on an outpatient basis. If performed during another facial cosmetic procedure, such as a face lift, it will be done under general anesthesia. We recommend general anesthesia for children, as this is the most comfortable method for younger patients. During the procedure, an incision is placed just behind the ears and the cartilage reshaped to correct the imperfection. Additional cartilage may be removed, if necessary to create the best result. Sutures are placed to hold the ears in their new position during the recovery period and a dressing is applied. The procedure takes about 1-2 hours depending on the level of correction needed.
What to expect during recovery
For an otoplasty procedure, recovery time is 1-2 weeks and slightly longer if additional procedures were done. Patients wear a headband day and night for 1 week after the procedure to help mold the ears. You will experience some swelling and bruising which can be relieved with pain medication and ice packs. Most patients are back to full activity within a few days. We strongly recommend that children avoid contact sports following an otoplasty until the ears are completely healed, which may require up to 6 months for the full healing to take place. When you leave our office after the procedure, your follow-up appointment will be set and you’ll visit us within a few days to check on your progress and to change the dressings.