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Ear pinning / correction (Otoplasty)

What is the Ear pinning / correction (Otoplasty)?

Ear Pinning (Otoplasty) is a cosmetic plastic surgery used to set prominent ears closer to the head. Ear Pinning (Otoplasty) is ideal for individual whose ears are prominent, over protruding, cupped or ill defined.

What is the procedure?

Ear Pinning surgery can be performed at a hospital, surgery clinic or a doctor's office. It is generally an outpatient procedure, but at times, a child may be admitted overnight. Anesthesia varies depending on the age of the patient. For a young child, general anesthesia may ease the process, but for adults it's possible to use local anesthesia instead.

The average ear pinning procedure takes 2 to 3 hours. In the most common technique, an incision on the back of the ear is made, exposing the cartilage beneath. The cartilage is then bent back towards the scalp. If the ear is very prominent, permanent stitches may be used to maintain the new shape of the ear. There may be slight scarring where the skin is joined, but this usually fades with time.

During cosmetic ear surgery to correct protrusion of the ear, the cosmetic surgeon may make further changes to the shape or size of the ear. This creates a natural shape and maintains as much symmetry as possible between the two ears.

What kind of result can you expect?

Usually the final results of the ear surgery are very long lasting. However, patients should not expect both ears to match perfectly, as total symmetry is unlikely to be achieved and would look unnatural.

Recovery period and recommendations

Immediately following the surgery, the head of the patient is wrapped in a sterile bandage.

For the first few days, there may be some pain and throbbing, which can be alleviated by painkillers. After 2 or 3 days, the bandage will be replaced with a lighter one, and after a week the stitches will either dissolve or will be removed.

Possible side effects and complications

Significant complications from aesthetic ear surgery are infrequent.

Some of the potential complications include hematoma (an accumulation of blood under the skin that may require removal), infection, changes in sensation, scarring, allergic reactions, damage to underlying structures, need for revisions, unsatisfactory results possibly necessitating additional procedures and medical risks. Sutures may be visible or may even break allowing for partial or complete recurrence of the protrusion and / or loss of the ear fold. Irregularities, sharp folds and other shape abnormalities may ensue.

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