Otoplasty is a cosmetic procedure that can pin back overly large or protruding ears to add balance and proportion to the face. Protruding ears are usually present from a young age and can lead to a lifetime of insecurity. By pinning back ears and bringing them closer to the head, both adult and child patients can enjoy a more balanced appearance and increase self-confidence.
Ear pinning can address multiple common concerns, including:
• Large ears
• Ears that protrude outwards
• Disproportionate ears
• Asymmetrical ears
At Millennial Plastic Surgery, Dr. David Shokrian is proud to offer otoplasty to their patients to help them regain their self-confidence and give them the ability to truly love the way they look.
Otoplasty can be completed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with intravenous sedation, according to the preference of the patient and the recommendation of the surgeon. Once the patient has been properly numbed, incisions will be made behind the ears. All incisions will be made in inconspicuous locations and hidden within the natural folds of the ear and skin. Once the appropriate incisions have been made, the surgeon can access the underlying cartilage and tissue.
During the surgery, excess cartilage may be trimmed, although it usually only requires an adjustment or repositioning. Once the ear has been successfully reshaped, the incisions will be closed with sutures. Non-removable sutures may anchor the ears in place and prevent any future movement following surgery. Dissolvable or removable sutures are sometimes appropriate for younger patients whose ears may be less resistant to reshaping.
The procedure is generally completed on an outpatient basis and takes two hours or less for a lifetime of results. Patients can return home immediately following their surgery.
Recovery and Results
Side effects from otoplasty include bruising, swelling, tenderness and aching for one to two weeks. The ears may feel stiff or sore for several weeks post-surgery. A compression dressing will be placed around the ears to hold them in place while they heal. The dressing is usually removed after 48 hours, at which time a loose but supportive headband should be worn at night to prevent any damage to the ears.
Patients will need to spend about one week away from their regular schedule, including going to work or attending school. The most noticeable side effects, including bruising and swelling, will diminish in about two weeks. Exercise and other strenuous activities can be resumed after three weeks. Contact sports should be avoided for six to eight weeks, and proper head protection will need to be worn to ensure no damage is done to the ears.
Results will be immediately noticeable, although final results will not become apparent until four or six weeks after the surgery. Swelling will take several months to completely subside and the ears may continue to adjust during this time. Incision scars will mature completely in 12 to 18 months. Fully matured scars will be thin, white, and hardly noticeable.
Q&A with Dr. Shokrian
Am I a good candidate for otoplasty?
If your self-image is harmed by protruding or large ears, then you are likely a good candidate for otoplasty. If you constantly resort to wearing hats or using a specific hairstyle to cover up and hide your ears, then schedule a consultation with us to learn more about this procedure. We can evaluate your ears and determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure.
How long will results last?
Ear pinning provides lifelong results. Once your ears have healed following your otoplasty, you can enjoy your new look for years to come. In a tiny percentage of adult otoplasty patients, the ears may move back to their original position. We take every step necessary to ensure this does not happen to our patients, including using non-removable sutures.
Will scarring be noticeable?
Scars will be completely hidden behind the ear. We make our incisions within the natural folds of the ear to keep them as inconspicuous as possible. Once scars have matured, they will be non visible and very minimal. Longer hairstyles will easily cover up any scarring, although most patients find this unnecessary because of how difficult their scars are to spot.
Is otoplasty painful?
Like any surgical procedure, otoplasty will create some discomfort. Pain following otoplasty is very manageable among most patients and can be minimized using non-blood thinning medication. You should expect some mild-to-moderate pain or soreness for the first couple of weeks of recovery.
Can I shower or go swimming after otoplasty?
You will need to wait until your bandages have been removed about 48 hours following your surgery before getting your ears wet. Swimming or spending time in still water will need to be avoided for the first couple of weeks or until your incisions heal over completely.
What is the best age to have otoplasty done?
Once the ears stop growing around age four, they can be safely operated on without fear of any further growth or aesthetic changes. If you would like to learn more, schedule a consultation with us to receive a proper evaluation. Protruding ears can have a prolonged effect on self-image, so an otoplasty can provide long-term benefits if completed at an earlier age.
Can ear pinning be done to only one ear?
Absolutely. Some patients have asymmetrical ears and do not require both ears to be pinned back. Here, we can operate only on one side and introduce symmetry by mirroring the position of the opposite ear.
Will otoplasty affect my hearing?
Otoplasty only affects the external portion of the ear and will not affect the internal structure of the ear. It will not affect your hearing.