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Otoplasty, or ear pinning, is a surgical procedure designed to improve the shape, position, and/or proportion of the ear. It is an extremely popular cosmetic surgery among both adults and children. Many patients who receive an otoplasty see visible results in overall appearance after the procedure, as protruding, disproportionate and asymmetrical ears are corrected. Scars from the procedure are often hidden in the natural creases of the ear, and go unnoticed.

Ears are one of the body’s most noticeable features. As such, there is only so much people can do to cover them. Cosmetic ear pinning or reconstruction is a great option for patients who are uncomfortable with the size or shape of their ears.

Otoplasty candidates must be in good overall health and free of active disease. They must also not smoke, and must not have any serious medical conditions. Pediatric patients must at least be five years old, to ensure their ears have developed completely and are stable enough to undergo correction.

Woman laughing and looking to the side

Patients with the following conditions are considered candidates for ear pinning or reconstruction:

  • Cagot Ear- No earlobe is present
  • Cats Ear- Edges of ear folded forward
  • Cauliflower Ear- Repeated trauma to the ear, causing cartilage deformity due to bleeding
  • Cleft Earlobe- An indent in the earlobe
  • Constricted Ear- Absence of skin or cartilage on back portion of the ear
  • Cosma Ear- Question mark ear, separation from the skull
  • Crypotia- Upper portion embedded into scalp
  • Lop Ear- Ear curves inward, similar to a cup
  • Macrotia- Abnormally large ears
  • Microtia- Ears small and underdeveloped
  • Scroll Ear- Ears curl forward, like a rolled up scroll
  • Stahl’s Ear- Folding that creates a pointed edge, resembles an elf’s ear
  • Wildermuth’s Ear- Top curve of ear is reversed, towards head.

Otoplasty Procedure

There are two types of otoplasty surgeries. Traditional otoplasties are otherwise known as ear pinning surgeries. Here, Dr. Rednam pins a patient’s large or protruding ears back towards their head, by making an incision behind the ear and reducing the ear’s enlarged conchal cartilage if indicated. Dr. Rednam then uses non-removable sutures to secure the newly formed cartilage in place, and closes the incision with external stitches.

During the other type of otoplasty—reconstructive—Dr. Rednam works individually with patients who have suffered from severe birth defects or trauma in order to reconstruct their ears.

Both traditional and reconstructive otoplasties are performed under general or local anesthesia with IV sedation depending on the indications. Additionally, both procedures take about two to three hours to complete. Patients tend to awake from surgery experiencing only mild discomfort.

Otoplasty Recovery

The majority of otoplasties are outpatient procedures and require little special aftercare other than avoidance of contact sports and strenuous activity while healing. Dr. Rednam has her patients wear a headband at all times for 1 week following surgery then after that while sleeping for 2 weeks. This helps reinforce the repair and prevent injury.

Dr. Rukmini Rednam has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.

Before & After

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