Ear plastic surgery – why do people have ear pinning – otoplasty surgery?
- Ear plastic surgery is also known as:
- Ear pinning surgery
- Otoplasty surgery
- Protruding and drooping ears or torn earlobes can be surgically corrected
- Exceptionally large ears or those that stick out make children vulnerable to teasing
- These procedures do not alter the patient’s hearing, but they may improve appearance and self-confidence
- Corrective ear surgery, called otoplasty, should be considered on ears that stick out more than 2 cm from the back of the head
From what age can otoplasty be performed?
- Otoplasty can be performed at any age after the ears have reached full size, usually at five or six years of age
- Having the surgery at a young age has two benefits: the cartilage is more pliable, making it easier to reshape, and the child will experience the psychological benefits of the cosmetic improvement
- However, a patient may have ear surgery at any age after the ears have reached full size
What Is Involved in “Pinning Back” the Ears?
- Typically otoplasty surgery takes about two hours
- The surgery begins with an incision behind the ear, in the fold where the ear joins the head
- The surgeon may remove skin and cartilage or trim and reshape the cartilage
- In addition to correcting protrusion, ears may also be reshaped, reduced in size, or made more symmetrical
- The cartilage is then secured in the new position with permanent stitches which will anchor the ear while healing occurs
- The soft dressings over the ears will be used for a few weeks as protection, and the patient usually experiences only mild discomfort
- After otoplasty headbands are sometimes recommended to hold the ears in place for a month following surgery or may be prescribed for nighttime wear only
Ear pinning cost
- Insurance usually does not cover surgery solely for cosmetic reasons
- However, insurance may cover, in whole or in part, the cost of otoplasty surgery to correct a congenital or traumatic defect
- Before cosmetic ear surgery, discuss the procedure with your insurance company to determine what coverage you can expect
Can Ear Deformities Be Corrected?
- The “fold” of hard, raised cartilage that gives shape to the upper portion of the ear does not form in all people – this is called “lop-ear deformity,” and it is inherited – the absence of the fold can cause the ear to stick out or flop down
- To correct this problem, the surgeon places permanent stitches in the upper ear cartilage and ties them in a way that creates a fold and props the ear up – scar tissue will form later, holding the fold in place
- Some infants are born without an opening in their middle ear – these ears can be surgically opened, and the outer ear reshaped to look like the other ear – this procedure will restore hearing if the inner ear is intact
- Those who are born without an ear, or lose an ear due to injury, can have an artificial ear surgically attached for cosmetic reasons – these are custom formed to match the patient’s other ear – alternatively, rib cartilage or a biomedical implant, in addition to the patient’s own soft tissue, can be used to construct a new ear
What can be done for severe ear deformity?
- Those who are born without an ear, or lose an ear due to injury, can have an artificial ear surgically attached for cosmetic reasons
- These are custom-formed to match the patient’s other ear
- Alternatively, rib cartilage or a biomedical implant, in addition to the patient’s own soft tissue, can be used to construct a new ear
What can be done for torn earlobes?
- Many mothers have had their earlobes torn by a baby’s tug on their earrings
- Earrings also catch on clothing and other objects, resulting in torn earlobes
- These tears can be easily repaired surgically, usually as a day surgery procedure, done under local anaesthesia
- In severe cases, the surgeon may cut a small triangular notch at the bottom of the lobe
- A matching flap is then created from tissue on the other side of the tear, and the two wedges are fitted together and stitched
- Earlobes usually heal quickly with minimal scarring
- In most cases, the earlobe can be pierced again four to six weeks after surgery to receive light-weight earrings
Ear pinning by an ENT – head and neck surgeon
- ENT – head and neck surgeons can provide a complete evaluation and treatment options regarding otoplasty
- An otolaryngologist can receive up to 15 years of university and post-graduate training in plastic surgery, concentrating on ear, nose and throat procedures
- Because they study the complex anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the entire head and neck, ENT specialists are uniquely qualified to perform the procedures that affect the ear