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Ear Pinning/Otoplasty FAQs

What is otoplasty?

Otoplasty, or ear pinning, is a cosmetic ear surgery that can be performed to reposition, or “pin back” protruding ears so that they rest closer to the head. Although otoplasty can alter the size and shape of the outer ear, it does not affect the internal structure of the ear—making it an aesthetic procedure. Dr. Julian De Silva offers the otoplasty and ear lobe repair in his London, UK office.

What happens during an otoplasty procedure?

First, an incision is made in the natural crease behind the ear. Skin and cartilage is removed, which allows the ears to be reshaped and sculpted back toward the head. Once the ears have been repositioned, sutures are placed to stabilize the cartilage in the new, permanent shape. Because the incisions are made in the fold, scars will be inconspicuous.

How long does the surgery take?

The length of the procedure depends on the patient; however a routine surgery takes about 2 hours.

Can the procedure be done on one ear only?

Yes. However, it is often recommended that the procedure is performed on both ears. This helps to ensure greater symmetry and an overall balanced, harmonious result.

Can otoplasty be performed on children?

Yes. In fact the procedure is commonly performed on children, whose protruding ears can be a source of peer ridicule. Surgery can be performed once the ears have fully grown, generally between the ages of 4-6 years. Early surgery can prevent the insecurity and embarrassment that comes from teasing. In addition, the cartilage is softer and more pliable, which allows for easier shaping.

Does otoplasty cause pain and discomfort?

After the surgery, patients will experience some discomfort in the ear area, such as throbbing and aching, which lasts about a week. The first days tends to be the most uncomfortable, due the compressive dressing that must be worn. Discomfort may be more acute at night, especially when sleeping on the side.

What is the recovery time?

The recovery time is relatively short, requiring about a week of recuperation before returning to work or school. In general, there is not severe bruising, but the ears will be swollen for the first 4 days following the procedure. For the first few days, dressings must be worn. Afterwards, a compressive headband must be worn for two weeks, as the ears fully heal.

Are there risks involved?

In general, the risks are minimal for individuals who are in good health. Complications can include hematoma, infection, and prolonged numbness. Infection of the skin and cartilage can be prevented with the use of the appropriate antibiotics. Risks of adverse effects are heightened you smoke, have diabetes, or are overweight. Those considering otoplasty should remember that some minor asymmetry may be present after surgery. But most patients are elated about the result, which gives a satisfactory boost to self-image. Dr. De Silva can go over all the risks during a consultation.

To learn more about otoplasty and what it can do for you, contact Dr. Julian De Silva in West London for a consultation.

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