Play it by Ear: What You Need to Know about Otoplasty

Otoplasty or ear pinning is one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures performed today, due to its high rates of satisfaction among patients. It’s not just adults that undergo this procedure either; otoplasty is one of the few plastic surgeries often recommended for children. Ear pinning offers a number of potential benefits for our patients and not all of them are purely cosmetic. There are psychological benefits of otoplasty as well, for patients of all ages.

What is Otoplasty?
Otoplasty is cosmetic surgery to correct the size, shape or position of the ears. The procedure is typically performed on an outpatient basis, using local or general anesthesia depending on the age of the patient. The procedure may be safely performed as early as age five or six, in which the external ear is fully mature and is often preferable before the child starts school to prevent teasing and bullying from classmates.

Otoplasty is a relatively quick procedure that involves surprisingly little discomfort or recovery time. A dressing is worn placed in the operating room which is removed the first day, and then replace with a special soft headband to be worn at night for a month. Most patients return to school or work in less than one week after the procedure.

What can Otoplasty Treat?

Otoplasty is used to treat a number of concerns involving one or both ears, including:

  • Ears that are unusually large (known as macrotia)
  • Ears that stick out from the sides of the head
  • Ears with tips that fold over (lop ears)
  • Ears that are asymmetrical in size, shape or position
  • Ears that have had previous surgery with unsatisfactory results

While many of these concerns are addressed during the early years of childhood, adults may also seek otoplasty. They may have a concern that was not treated when they were children, or they may develop an issue due to an injury. In some cases, adults are unhappy with the results of an initial ear procedure and decide to have revision otoplasty.

Benefits of Otoplasty
Otoplasty does not impact a patient’s hearing. It does, however, offer a myriad of benefits to patients regardless of age. Those benefits include:

  • Permanent correction for cosmetic concerns
  • Better shape and symmetry to the ears
  • Greater self-confidence
  • Ability to wear a wider range of hairstyles

For younger patients particularly, otoplasty offers a wealth of psychological benefits as well as cosmetic improvement. Children with ears that are disproportionately large or stick out from the head are often victims of teasing and bullying in school. Studies have shown some of these children may actually perform poorly academically or fail to develop proper social skills as a result of other children’s reactions to their ears. By treating the concern early on, usually by age 5, these children do not begin school with any sort of social disadvantage.

Dr. Burke Robinson at Robinson Facial Plastic Surgery recommends otoplasty for children as soon as the ears have fully matured, usually around the age of five. He also performs the procedure on older children and adults with some regularity. To learn more about otoplasty, contact Robinson Facial Plastic Surgery at 770-667-3090.