Prominent ears can be a source of discomfort and derision at times. There are a myriad of procedures to “set back” ears or to give them a more pleasing contour. Otoplasty, commonly referred to as ear pinning, is a surgical procedure that corrects the size or placement of an individual's ears. Otoplasty is generally performed on children after the age of 5 as well as adults, as the ears are nearly their full adult size by 4 to 6 years of age. Otoplasty makes the ears more proportional to the size and shape of the head and face Even when only one ear appears to protrude; surgery is usually performed on both ears for a better balance.
Procedure: Ear surgery usually takes a few hours, although complicated procedures may take longer. The technique will depend on the problem. With one of the more common techniques, the surgeon makes a small incision in the back of the ear to expose the ear cartilage. He or she will then sculpt the cartilage and bend it back toward the head. Non-removable stitches may be used to help maintain the new shape. Occasionally, the surgeon will remove a larger piece of cartilage to provide a more natural-looking fold when the surgery is complete. Another technique involves a similar incision on the front of the ear. Skin is removed and stitches are used to fold the cartilage back on itself to reshape the ear without removing cartilage.
Results: Soft dressings applied to the ears will remain until you are seen in follow up. Most patients experience some mild discomfort. If you are accustomed to sleeping on your side, your sleep patterns may be disrupted for a week or so because you cannot put any pressure on the ear areas. Headbands are sometimes recommended to hold the ears in the desired position for six weeks after the surgery.
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