Overly prominent ears can cause great distress throughout childhood and adulthood. Ear pinning, known also as a pinnaplasty, is a cosmetic surgery procedure to reshape the ears or bring them into closer alignment with the side of the head.
Prominent ears are the result of the cartilage that forms the shape of the ear and this can affect just one or both of the ears. Ear pinning is the only cosmetic surgery procedure that is routinely performed on young children as it is a relatively straightforward procedure that can alleviate the embarrassment that children with prominent ears experience at school.
Am I a suitable candidate for ear pinning?
Although often performed during childhood, an ear pinning procedure is also suitable for adult patients. If your ear appears prominent, it is likely that surgery will be able to help reduce their prominence.
What happens during an ear pinning procedure?
My preferred technique is to reshape the ear using stitches that are placed in the cartilage of the ear via an incision on the back of the ear. Sometimes, a small amount of cartilage has to be removed to help the ears fold back, but this doesn’t cause any noticeable change in the appearance of the ears when seen from the front.
It is possible to perform the procedure under a local anaesthetic although a general anaesthetic is often preferred. As this is a relatively quick procedure, taking one to two hours, it is usually done as a day-case, with no overnight stay. Afterwards, you have to have a bandage around the ears and head for 5 to 7 days, after which the dressings are removed and the wounds checked. I ask that patients wear a head band at night to protect the ears for 6 weeks after the surgery.
Are there any possible risks or complications associated with an ear pinning procedure?
The most common complications after a pinnaplasty include subtle differences in symmetry between the 2 sides, lumpiness in the scar behind the ear and a temporary change in the sensation in the skin of the ears. Other complications are unusual and I will discuss these in more details when I see you in the out-patient clinic.
What results can I expect from my ear pinning procedure?
Generally, patients are pleased with the improvement in the appearance of the ears that can be achieved.