Otoplasty | Ear Pinning

What is a Otoplasty | Ear Pinning?

Otoplasty is the medical term that refers to surgical procedure that would change the shape and/or position of the ear. The most common indication is the patient with prominent, but normally shaped, ears.

Re-shaping of the ears is accomplished by skin excision and altering the ear cartilage. This includes placement of permanent sutures to hold the cartilage of the ear in its new position. There will usually be no sutures to remove as sutures are placed inside the ear and are not visible.

What to expect from surgery?

Otoplasty can be done in the hospital under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. The ears need to be protected from any injury for six weeks.

Possible complications of this procedure:

  • Bleeding. It is possible, though unusual, to experience bleeding during surgery. Any injury to the ear can result in a hematoma (or blood clot) which may need to be drained in the office.
  • Infection. Though unusual, infection may occur with any surgery. You may be placed on an antibiotic prophylactically.
  • Changes in sensation (numbness). Common in the ear for up to 8 weeks after surgery.
  • Ear trauma. Injury to the ears after surgery will disrupt the results of the surgery. Additional surgery may be necessary to correct any damage.
  • Wrinkling. “Wrinkling” of the skin and cartilage may occur.
  • Scarring. Following any surgical procedure, scars will form. These scars may be unattractive and of different color than surrounding skin.
  • Asymmetry. As discussed above, there are differences in the ears before surgery, and there will be differences after surgery.
  • Delayed healing. Slow healing of the surgical sites is possible. Frequent dressing changes and/or further surgery may be necessary to remove the non-healing tissue.