Posts Tagged ‘ear pinning’

Otoplasty: What You Need to Know About Ear Pinning

Everyone has a feature that makes them feel a bit self-conscious. But when that feature is as prominent as your ears, it can really take a toll on your self-esteem. If you’re uncomfortable with the shape, positioning or protrusion of your ears, the solution may be much less complicated than you think.

Otoplasty, more commonly referred to as “ear pinning,” is a cosmetic procedure used to correct ears that stick out too far, or are shaped or positioned abnormally. It can have a significant impact and involves very little risk. In fact, it can be performed on children as young as 5 years old.

Benefits of Otoplasty

In addition to feeling better about your appearance, otoplasty offers other amazing benefits. It:

  • Can provide dramatic results with no visible scarring.
  • Has a short recovery period — usually two weeks or less.
  • Is one of the safest facial surgical procedures.

What to Expect During an Ear Pinning Procedure

Choosing a skilled and experienced cosmetic surgeon is imperative. Otoplasty is a surgery that requires extreme attention to detail. After all, there’s an exact duplicate immediately available for comparison on the other side of your head. It’s impossible to recreate the exact same measurements from one side to the next, but most surgeons will take careful measurements throughout the procedure and only complete the closure when the measurements of your ears are within 1 to 2 mm of each other. Go into your surgery feeling confident in your surgical team.

Pain Management During Surgery

Adults may be able to have the procedure with local anesthesia. That means you may only require numbing of the specific area without any type of sedation. But since that method leaves you awake for the procedure — and many people are anxious about that — medication is sometimes given to also further calm you.

Children usually need a general anesthetic to make them sleep during the procedure.

How Ear Pinning Is Performed

The procedure itself involves making an incision in the crease behind your ear — allowing the incision to be completely hidden. Your surgeon will then decide where to place sutures to allow folding of the cartilage in specific locations, and to address any cartilage that may need to be weakened or even cut to achieve your desired results. Every case is different and your surgeon’s next steps will depend on your unique needs. If there is:

  • Too much depth to the bowl of your ear and the whole ear protrudes from the scalp, sutures will be placed to pull the bowl back towards your scalp in several specific locations.
  • Underdevelopment of the crease at the top of your ear, the surgeon will plan for the crease in a specific location and place a series of precise sutures to create the ideal fold.
  • A combination of both of the above issues, you may require a combination of both procedures.

Recovering from Otoplasty

The primary goal during your recovery period is to support your ears so the cartilage can strengthen. Most surgeons will place a pressure-type dressing over your ears for 24 to 48 hours and then evaluate you. If everything is going well, they’ll place a smaller dressing that you’ll wear for a week and they’ll remove any sutures at that point. They may also instruct you to wear the softer dressing at night for an additional week.

The natural folds and swelling should resolve over one to two weeks. While you can return to work within a week or two, you should avoid strenuous activity for at least two weeks. And, to prevent injury to the cartilage, you should not participate in contact sports for two to three months.

Emory Aesthetic Center

Emory Aesthetic Center has highly qualified cosmetic surgeons experienced in otoplasty. If you’re interested in an ear pinning procedure, schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our expert cosmetic surgeons today.

About Anita Sethna, MD, FACS

Anita Sethna, MD, FACS, is double board-certified in Head and Neck Surgery and Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery since 2010. She is also an Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at Emory University School of Medicine where she has taught since 2011. Dr. Sethna is the recipient of the AOA Research Award, and she is an accomplished expert in her primary areas of interest: rhinoplasty and injectables.



Request an appointmentor call us at 404-778-6880.

Ear Pinning (Otoplasty) 101

Ear PinningOtoplasty (or “ear pinning”) surgery for prominent ears (ears that “stick out”) is one of the most common types of plastic surgery performed on children. In most cases, the ideal time to perform this surgery is around 5 or 6 years of age—before children are exposed to the teasing that can often take place in school. That is not to say, however, that adults don’t present with this complaint. Many adults or adolescents will request consultation after having considered a surgical option for many years. Common questions asked include how the procedure is done, what kind of anesthesia will be used, how long the operation will take, and what the risks are.

Prominent ears can have several different causes. When a patient presents for consultation to improve the appearance of the ears, the facial plastic surgeon will take measurements of both ears (regardless of whether the problem presents in both or only one ear), take photos from all angles and discuss what the specific anatomic issues are that are causing the protrusion.

Surgery for prominent ears is often performed under general anesthesia in children, but in adolescents and adults may be performed under sedation or even local anesthetic, depending on the preference of the surgeon. Usually, this type of procedure takes about an hour per ear. This is due to the fact that very precise measurements must be taken to ensure the sides are as symmetric as possible, and that the issues causing the prominence are adequately addressed.

Several different techniques are used to reduce the prominent cartilages—some surgeons prefer to remove certain portions of cartilage, while others prefer to preserve as much as possible and rely on suture techniques to mold and bend the cartilage. No matter which technique is preferred, a bulky dressing will usually be applied for the first 24 hours after surgery to keep pressure on the areas that were operated on. This may be removed the next day in the office, and a softer dressing is placed after examining the incisions. The softer dressing usually will be worn 24 hours a day for a week to preserve the new position of the ears, and then only at night for the next few weeks. Pain during the recovery period may only be present the first night or two and after that tends to dissipate quickly.

The most common complication of otoplasty is undercorrection, or inadequate correction of the protrusion. This can often be improved with revision after wounds have healed for a sufficient amount of time. Given the fact that the ears are paired structures, it is impossible to achieve perfect symmetry between the two, but the goal is to fall within a very small window of difference to ensure the results are as symmetric as possible.

The majority of the time, otoplasty is a successful and satisfying procedure, and one that has a high patient satisfaction. For more information about otoplasty, consult with one of our facial plastic surgeons who can customize a plan that best fits your individual need.

About Dr. Sethna

Anita Sethna, MDAnita Sethna, MD, understands that facial plastic and reconstructive surgery demand a marriage of science and artistry, and she enjoys using precision, skill, and vision to make her patients’ dreams reality. Dr. Sethna’s meticulous attention to detail and her passion for maintaining a natural look ensure optimum results for her patients. A dedicated teacher, Dr. Sethna is devoted to assisting residents in facial trauma or reconstructive cases at Grady Hospital. She relishes the opportunity to educate residents and medical students in all aspects of patient care. Dr. Sethna has a strong interest in several areas of facial plastic surgery research and has presented at national meetings on the importance of resident and fellow education in rhinoplasty techniques and adjunctive measures to decrease discomfort during cosmetic procedures.