Ear Pinning and Reshaping (Otoplasty)
What is ear pinning surgery?
Overly prominent or irregularly shaped ears can be a cause of low self-esteem and dissatisfaction with one’s appearance. Children in particular may be subjected to cruel taunts about this feature from other kids. Fortunately, ear surgery (otoplasty) can help to address many common concerns, including the size, shape, and angle of the ears. Both younger and older patients can benefit from this procedure, which typically has a very high satisfaction rate. At Hankins & Sohn Plastic Surgery Associates, our board certified plastic surgeons can help you (or your child) achieve an outcome that enhances your appearance and improves your confidence.
To learn more about ear reshaping and ear pinning surgery, please contact our plastic surgery practice today. We can answer your questions or help you to schedule a complimentary consultation with our experienced plastic surgeons.
Ear Surgery Candidates
Generally speaking, patients should wait until the ear structures have matured before undergoing otoplasty, which usually occurs by age five or six. While cartilage can continue growing throughout life, the increase in size should be minimal after this point. Besides age, factors that determine candidacy include the desire to change the prominence, shape, or size of the ears. During your initial complimentary consultation, you can discuss your goals with our skilled surgeon, who will determine if this approach is right for you.
Ear Pinning and Reshaping Procedure
Every treatment plan is customized to suit the unique anatomic needs and cosmetic goals of the individual. General anesthesia is often used with younger children while local anesthesia may be sufficient for older children and adults. To address prominent ears, typically a small incision will be made in the natural fold behind the ear. Sutures will then be placed to adjust the shape of the cartilage. Depending on the anatomy, it may be necessary to remove a small section of cartilage to adjust the ear angle closer to the head. Excess skin also can be trimmed while the cartilage is reshaped as needed to help achieve the desired outcome. Permanent or temporary stitches may also be utilized to hold the ears closer to the head.
The recovery experience following ear surgery will depend largely on the technique used during the procedure. In most cases, downtime should be minimal. Older children and adults should be able to return to work within a few days. Younger children, however, may need a few extra days to recover. It’s important for young patients to understand that the ears will be healing for a while, and they should be monitored during play to avoid the risk of injury. A headband may be worn during the daytime for up to a week, and at night for several weeks, to help preserve the results. Any further instructions pertinent to your unique experience will be provided during your consultation and at follow-up appointments.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ear Surgery
To help you determine if ear surgery is right for you or your child, our plastic surgeons have provided answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about this procedure. While the best way to learn if ear surgery is appropriate is to speak with one of our skilled surgeons, we recognize that most patients complete a great deal of research before coming in. We hope the following serves as a useful resource. If you have additional questions, or if you are ready to schedule a consultation, please contact our practice.
What are the benefits of ear pinning surgery?
The primary purpose of ear surgery is to enhance the appearance of the outer ear area and to set the ears in a position where they sit closer to the head. Many children are born with ears that are overly large or angled in such a way as to draw unwanted attention to them. Ear surgery is designed to correct these cosmetic issues.
In addition to a more aesthetically appealing outcome, ear surgery can also enhance a person’s confidence. Many people feel self-conscious about the size, shape, or prominence of their ears, and they may even be teased by their peers, particularly school-aged children. Once complete, this procedure may boost your self-esteem.
What will ear pinning scars look like?
The incision is typically placed on the back of the ear, often within the natural fold where the ear meets the head. Once healed, the scar is usually unnoticeable, and if you have longer hair it’s even more inconspicuous. Some techniques require multiple incisions, although great care is taken to make the result as natural-looking as possible. Our surgeons will go over the treatment plan in detail so you can be prepared for the outcome.
How much does ear surgery cost?
As with all cosmetic procedures, the price of ear pinning surgery will vary depending on the unique details of your treatment plan. We customize every surgical program to best suit the individual needs, characteristics, and desired outcome of the patient. The average cost of otoplasty, the medical term for ear pinning surgery, in 2016 was $3,154, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Please note that this number doesn’t necessarily reflect the price of ear surgery at Hankins & Sohn. Please also keep in mind, this estimate only covers the surgeon’s fee, and the total cost will include other expenses such as anesthesiology and hospital facility fees. To help you become well-informed and make the best decision for you, we will provide a detailed overview of the expected full cost of treatment at your consultation. We also work with plastic surgery financing companies that can provide appealing terms for qualified applicants.
Is there an age limit for ear surgery?
We recommend waiting until a child’s ear cartilage has finished developing before considering the surgery, which is usually around the age of five or six. There is no upper age limit for ear surgery, and we routinely treat adults with prominent ears. The most important factor for all potential patients is that they are in good overall health and that they have reasonable expectations for the result.
If you have additional questions about ear surgery, or if you would like to schedule a complimentary consultation, please contact us today.