Ear Pinning (Otoplasty)
Prominent ears are the result of genetic variations in the size and shape of the outer ear. When a natural, less noticeable appearance is desired, otoplasty (commonly referred to as "ear pinning") is usually the best approach.
The ear pinning (otoplasty) operation has many variations and we have made major strides in technique over the past two decades. Current techniques offer three options: A minimally invasive approach (essentially without incisions); A moderately invasive operation with very small incisions; Or a more classical operation with regular incisions. The choice of technique depends on each individual's anatomy and goals, but no matter which approach, the outcome should look natural with nearly invisible scars.
Among children, the operation is not recommended before the age of 5 1/2 or 6 years of age. At this stage in development, the ears are approximately their adult size and the cartilage has matured enough to correct properly. It also happens to be the age that children begin to develop their self image and start elementary school. They may begin to be teased by other children or they may just be self conscious of the condition. Early correction (1st or 2nd grade) can best curtail the development of a negative self image.
Contrary to popular belief, adults make up the majority of patients who undergo this operation. Although it can be combined with other procedures, many patients decide to undergo otoplasty as an isolated operation.
The operation is performed under sedation for adults and general anesthesia for children. The procedure time is approximately 1 hour and is performed on an outpatient basis. The recovery is not usually painful, however, children will often guard their ears from being touched once the outer protective dressing is removed. This guarding can last for several days to weeks. Adults usually return to work within 2-3 days of the operation and self care is very simple. There may be some visible bruising, however, this is usally short-lived. Sutures are removed after one week, but even when present, are not very visible.
If you are considering reducing the prominence of the ears of your child or yourself, seek consultation with a surgeon experienced in this operation who has versatile techinques and an artistic eye. Dr. Holden is a published author on the subject of otoplasty and teaches other surgeons on the most current techniques.
Contact Us to arrange your consultation with Dr. Holden.