What is Otoplasty?
An Otoplasty, also known as Pinnaplasty, is a surgical procedure that aims to re-shape or re-size prominent ears. An otoplasty procedure aims to create more natural, proportionate and symmetrical looking ears, that are closer to your head.
During the procedure the doctor may remove ear cartilage through a small incision, hidden behind the ear. They may also use stitches to hold your ears into a new position. This is often referred to as ‘pinning back’ the ears.
This procedure is normally performed under general anaesthetic and takes around one to two hours.
What causes prominent ears?
Genetics appear to play a large role in the cause of prominent ears. It is common for protruding ears to run in a family. Other causes include:
- Overdevelopment of the ear cartilage: if the pinna (or outer ear) has formed excess cartilage, it is more likely to be prominent.
- Underdevelopment of the ear cartilage: occasionally the ridge of cartilage located at the top of the ear does not developed properly. This causes the edge of the ear to fold outwards.
- Injury: protruding ears can be a result of an injury.
What happens during the procedure?
Our highly experienced surgeons use otoplastic surgery to correct and reconstruct prominent ears. An otoplasty procedure aims to remodel the ear cartilage, to create any missing folds and reposition the ear closer to the head.
There are three main types of otoplasty surgery:
- Ear augmentation – this procedure is required if the pinna is underdeveloped or missing.
- Otopexy – this is commonly known as ear ‘pinning’ and this surgery helps to flatten protruding ears.
- Ear reduction– this surgery aims to reduce the pinna when it is too large.
When the ears are too large, this is called macrotia. An Otoplasty will be performed to reduce the size.
How long is the recovery time? Is there any downtime?
Numbness to the ears and face may continue for several weeks after an otoplasty procedure, and mild bruising may be present for up to 2 weeks. The ears may feel stiff for several months. Patients may also experience soreness, particularly at night, which can last for a few months.
After an otoplasty procedure the patient will need to wear bandages over their ears for several days. Patients will need to refrain from washing their hair while these bandages are in place. Once the bandages have been removed, patients usually continue to wear a supportive headband over their ears at night to aid the healing process.
Patients can usually return to work within a week of surgery and regular activities and exercise can resume within 2 weeks. However, activities that could cause injury to the ears should be avoided during the recovery period. Swimming should be avoided for up to 8 weeks after surgery.
Step by Step
1 No Obligation Consultation
We offer a no obligation consultation with one of our expert Treatment Coordinators to talk about your concerns and goals and discuss your otoplasty treatment options. This gives you the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the various ear surgery techniques.
2 Meet with our practitioners
We arrange for you to meet with your Surgeon before any treatment begins. This gives you an opportunity to discuss your treatment in more detail and express any concerns. Your Treatment Coordinator will then put your treatment and aftercare plan into place for optimal results. We also offer a 14 day cooling off period, should you change your mind about your ear surgery.
3 Before the Procedure
On the day of your ear surgery, your Surgeon will meet you in your private room to run through the procedure again and discuss any questions or concerns.
Your anaesthetist will then administer the anaesthetic to ensure that you are comfortable and the procedure is pain free.
4 During the Procedure
During the procedure the doctor may remove ear cartilage through a small incision hidden behind the ear. They may also use stitches to hold your ears into a new position.
5 After the Procedure
Once the procedure is complete, you will need to wear bandages over the ears for several days.
1. How long will the results last for?
The results of otoplasty treatment are permanent, although revision surgery is sometimes considered if the patient feels the change is not as they expected.
How long will the procedure take?
An otoplasty procedure typically takes about one to two hours to complete.
Will there be scarring or puffiness?
Our skilled surgeons take extra care to ensure that any incisions are made within the natural creases of the ear, to help keep scarring to a minimum.
Is the procedure safe? Will my hearing be affected?
This procedure does not have any impact on the internal structures of the ear, so your hearing will not be affected by otoplasty surgery.
How soon after the procedure will I notice a difference?
Immediately following otoplasty, your ears will be wrapped in surgical dressings to protect them and aid the healing process. After the dressings are removed, you will see an immediate difference in the ears, although you will not see the full results of the treatment until the bruising and swelling has reduced.
Is there anything I need to do in preperation for the procedure beforehand?
Your Treatment Coordinator will be able to advise you on how best to prepare for your otoplasty surgery. Some things to consider before treatment are:
Smoking – your doctor will recommend that you stop smoking before surgery and during recovery.
Medication – there are some medications you will need to avoid. Your consultant will be able to advise on unsafe medications and discuss your medical history.
It is also advised that you make arrangements for someone to drive you home after your surgery.