At any age, prominent ears can have a powerfully negative effect on your self perception and self confidence
Otoplasty (Ear Tuck)
Prominent ears affect all ages and sexes. It is almost always congenital (present since birth) and aside from molding within the first month of life, there are no effective non surgical treatments. An otoplasty or ‘ear pinning‘, offers a definitive yet natural solution. Surgery time is typically less than 2 hours and provides a permanent improvement in ear shape and appearance. Small changes in this area can really improve self perception and confidence.
Any child before the age of 6, and men and women over the of age of 14-16 (depending on development) with prominent ears.
All parts of the ear can be treated including the helix, anti helix, ear lobe and concha.
For many adult patients, this procedure can be completed in the office under local anesthesia but for children and all other patients, the procedure will be completed in an operating room with IV sedation or general anesthesia. For surgeries requiring general anesthesia, a current EKG and basic blood work are required.
After surgery you will need to wear a soft band over your ears for several weeks. This band provides protection to your healing ears and helps with pain. Although soreness will be likely for several weeks, pain medication is only needed for a few days. We request that you avoid activities that elevate the heart rate for at least 2 weeks after surgery to allow for proper healing.
WATCH OR LISTEN TO OUR EPISODE ON THIS PROCEDURE
Frequently asked Questions
What can I expect on the day of surgery for an in office ear pinning procedure?
You will arrive at the office 30 to 40 minutes before the procedure start-time. Surgical markers will be used as guides, providing an outline for the treatment areas. After taking oral medication to help you feel relaxed and comfortable during the procedure, you will be escorted to the procedure room. There, your ear and face will be coated with a sterilizing solution, and you will be positioned on your back for the procedure. Procedure times vary, but the average length of the procedure is 1.5 hours. Afterward, you will be cleansed and placed in a surgical head wrap. Within 15 to 30 minutes, you will be discharged to the care of a friend or family member. Due to the oral medication that is administered before the procedure, you will not be able to drive yourself home afterward.
How expensive is an ear pinning procedure?
The cost of this procedure will vary depending on the type of ear pinning needed and also the location of the surgery. It is important to note that doing this procedure in the office will help you avoid the extra cost of anesthesia and operative fees, which will significantly reduce your overall expense. You will be provided with a customized surgical quote at the time of your consultation.
What are the steps of an ear pinning procedure?
Every ear pinning procedure varies depending on your exam but there are some universal steps. In most cases, three parts of your ear are treated: the top (helix and antihelix), the middle (concha) and in some cases the bottom (ear lobe). Here is the progression for a standard case:
- Inject local anesthesia in the front and back of the ear
- Make a 1 inch incision in the crease, behind the ear
- Elevate the skin to expose the helix, antihelix and concha
- Reshape the top of the ear with sutures (Mustarde technique) or cartilage scoring
I want an ear pinning procedure but I am concerned about the recovery and pain. What should I expect?
Recovery times vary from person to person but in general, it takes only a few days to get back on your feet and return to non physical work duties, around 1 week to return to normal daily activities and 3-4 weeks to return to your normal workout schedule. Discomfort after this surgery is limited and will depend on the areas of your ear that were treated. Pain medication is rarely needed more than a few days after surgery. Wearing a compressive band intermittently over the ears after surgery, especially when sleeping, does offer protection and help with discomfort and swelling. Even though these bands are both thin and comfortable to wear, they will be visible in public. Therefore social interactions will be limited for the first week. After the first week, we often only require that the compressive band be worn at night. For patients with longer hair that covers their ears, a return to social activities should be easy. Those who have shorter hair that doesn't cover their ears, there will be a longer return to social activities due to visible swelling. Children are the exception as we require them to wear the compressive band day and night for at least 4 weeks to protect the surgical site.
Who is not a candidate for an ear pinning procedure?
Although most people interested in improving their ear contour and visibility will be a candidate, some may not qualify for this procedure. This includes individuals who have notable health issues like diabetes or heart disease. Before entertaining any elective procedure, individuals with these issues should consider maximizing their health with their primary physician. For children, greater than the age of 6, an ear pinning procedure should be delayed until the teenage years. This avoids creating issues related to their self perception during the development of abstract reasoning around the age of 7.
How do you decide whether I can undergo an ear pinning procedure in the office, versus in an operating room?
Our office has specialized in awake in office ear pinning procedures over the past 10 years. It is our specialty, and we are very proud of the reputation we have built nationally. A majority of the patients that seek out our help in improving their ear contour and visibility are candidates for an in office and awake procedure. These types of cases have many benefits including, an easier immediate recovery, a lower cost and improved risk profile. But these types of procedures do have one limitation: awake procedures are not for everyone as some prefer more than oral sedation when undergoing surgery of the ears. Although local anesthetics are very effective at making you comfortable during the procedure, you will not be asleep during an in office procedure. But don’t fret, we will work through the pros and cons related to the location of surgery when you come into our office for your consultation and make the best decision for you.
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