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Ear Pinning Surgery- Otoplasty

Protruding ears are arguably physical characteristics that beg for
plastic surgery. Children with ears that stick out no longer have to
bear the name-calling, and are excellent candidates for otoplasty.
But you don’t have to be a child to have this surgery; it can be
done as soon as the ears have reached full size, usually at age
five or six. Even when ears are only slightly distorted, low
self-esteem can result in poor academic performance. When
deciding whether or not to have otoplasty, the rule of thumb is the earlier the better. 

Adults also can have this surgery, and it’s an easy way for them to boost their self-esteem. In many cases, adults will have otoplasty in conjunction with other plastic surgery procedures. Now, ears can be made smaller, more symmetrical, and reshaped. 

Are You a Good Candidate For Otoplasty?

The standard prerequisites are good health and realistic expectations, and potential patients also should fully understand the procedure before they agree to it. One of the biggest concerns is that otoplasty will cause hearing problems, but this isn’t true. The goal of otoplasty is to ensure the ears are in proportion to the size and shape of the face and head.

Parents who are considering otoplasty for their child should remember to keep a positive attitude about the procedure. This approach is always essential when dealing with plastic surgery, but even more so when children and adolescents are involved. Talk to your plastic surgeon about what’s best for your child medically, physically, and psychologically. 

Adults who are considering having otoplasty need to clearly understand that their ears can’t be as easily molded as children’s, because the cartilage in adult ears is firmer.

Choosing Otoplasty

In your initial consultation, your plastic surgeon will examine the structure of the ears and discuss the best treatments for the problem. Even if only one ear needs surgery, your surgeon will probably recommend that both ears be done so that they will be symmetrical.

Also in the consultation, your surgeon will explain the kind of anesthetic that will be required, the type of surgical facility where the otoplasty will be performed, and the cost of the surgery. Typically, a general anesthetic is used for young patients, and a local anesthetic combined with a mild sedative is used for older children and adults. Otoplasty usually takes about two hours.

The Otoplasty Procedure  

The surgeon begins with an incision just behind the ear, where it is joined to the head. The surgeon will then remove the necessary amounts of cartilage and skin required to achieve the look that is right for the patient. In other instances, the surgeon won’t remove any cartilage, but instead will stitch the cartilage permanently in place.

What Happens After Otoplasty Surgery

It is common for patients to experience some level of discomfort following otoplasty. Since you can’t put any pressure on your ear area, you won’t be able to sleep as you usually do. Some patients wear headbands to hold their ears in the desired position for up to two weeks after the surgery.

There are few complications associated with otoplasty. Patients will have a thin white scar behind the ear, where it can’t easily be seen. 

In general, insurance does not cover cosmetic surgery. However, surgery to correct or improve birth defects or traumatic injuries may be reimbursable in whole or in part. Patients should talk to their insurance carriers to find out what, if any coverage is available to them for an otoplasty.


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