Otoplasty is also known as ear pinning surgery, or pinnaplasty. The primary goal of the procedure is to reshape prominent ears. Though the procedure is performed most often for children ages 4-14 with fully developed ears, adults can also be treated. The main goal of the procedure is to prevent or end teasing that young children with protruding ears often experience.
During otoplasty, a plastic surgeon reshapes the cartilage behind the ear to hold the ear back and diminish its prominence. Depending on the specific shape of the individual’s ears, a small amount of cartilage may be removed from the back of each ear prior to suture placement.
Otoplasty may be an option for you or your child if protruding ears are a hindrance to everyday life. If you think that your ears or your child’s ears are protruding to an abnormal degree, this procedure may be an appropriate solution.
Otoplasty is performed as an outpatient procedure and can last between 2-3 hours. The type of anesthesia used depends on the individual, but, generally, adults receive local and children general.
The surgeon will first make an incision at the back of the ear in order to access the cartilage. He or she will then sculpt, fold, or remove a portion of the cartilage to reposition the ears. Finally, the surgeon will place the sutures to close the incision and maintain the new shape.
Most children can return to school after one week, and adults can go back to work after about five days. Your child’s head will be wrapped in a bandage directly after surgery in order to promote optimal healing and to maintain the new shape of his or her ears. Any temporary stitches will be removed within one week. Please refer to your surgeon for more specific aftercare protocol.
If you have questions or concerns about otoplasty, please know that the surgeons at UNC Aesthetic, Laser & Burn Center in the Plastic Surgery Division, Chapel Hill, are eager and able to help. Our highly experienced, board certified surgeons are attentive to all their patients–and especially to children–as they undergo this procedure. Patients of any age can relax, knowing that they are in good hands.