Ear Pinning Explained

Posted September 23, 2020
Ear pinning alters and enhances the look of protruding ears

Patients that want to address the issue of protruding ears often turn to ear pinning to alter the appearance of ears that stick out greatly from the head. Ear pinning is a type of otoplasty, or plastic ear surgery, where the surgeon removes skin or cartilage located behind the ears before using permanent stitches or sutures to pin back the ears. Ear pinning is normally performed for aesthetic reasons, on adult patients as well as children that are five years of age or older, when a person is not happy with the amount their ears stick out from the head.  In order to get a better idea of the type of permanent results patients can expect to see after having otoplasty surgery, Cosmetic Town TV visited Carlo Honrado, M.D., F.A.C.S, a Los Angeles Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon, to view an otoplasty case:

Ear Pinning Surgery – How it is Performed

Ear pinning is normally performed as an outpatient procedure. The procedure begins with the surgeon making an incision behind the ear. The incision is typically made in the natural fold where the head and the ear meet. The surgeon will remove and/or trim any excess skin or cartilage before repositioning and securing the ear, in the desired position, using internal stitches or sutures to keep the ears in place.

Ear Pinning Recovery Process

Once the ear pinning procedure is over, the patient will wait in a recovery room until they are alert and stable. Since anesthesia is used during the procedure, a patient will need a friend or family member to drive them home.

Bandages will be placed around the head to protect the incisions and support the ears while they are healing. Once the bandages are removed by the doctor, a headband will need to be worn by the patient for a number of weeks. The headband is worn to support the ears as they heal as well as protect the ears while the patient is asleep.

The recovery time varies per person and depends on the age of the patient, the amount of work performed during the procedure and the general health of the person. It can take about two weeks before the person is ready to resume normal activities.

There will be some pain and discomfort that is felt after the surgery. In addition, the ears might itch underneath the bandages. It is important that the patient does not remove the bandages or make any attempt to scratch the ears after the surgery. The doctor can prescribe some pain medication (if necessary) to treat pain or discomfort after ear pinning surgery.

Ear Pinning Risks and Complications

Much like any other surgery, there are some risks and complications patients should know about before undergoing ear pinning AKA ear correction surgery:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Asymmetry with the final results
  • Overcorrection of the ears
  • Scarring
  • Hematoma (an accumulation of blood under the skin)
  • Changes in skin sensation in the treated area
  • Ear Pinning Preparation

When preparing to undergo ear pinning surgery, here are some common questions patients often ask their doctor:

  • Am I a good candidate for ear pinning surgery?
  • Do I need plastic ear surgery?
  • What type of ear correction results can I expect to see?
  • Are there are any other treatment options for my ears?
  • How long will the procedure take to perform?
  • How is the surgery performed?
  • When I can resume my regular daily activities?
  • How do I care for the incisions once I return to my home?
  • Will there be pain after the surgery?
  • What type of medications will I need to take after the procedure?
  • Will I need any assistance from friends or family members once I get home?
  • Will there be a follow-up appointment after the surgery?

Ear Pinning Surgery Benefits

Besides the obvious benefits of changing the appearance of protruding ears, there are other benefits that patients enjoy after having the surgery. The new appearance of the ears can give a person a new level of self-confidence as well as an increased self-image. The new look of the ears, and the elimination of any worries about the appearance of the protruding ears, can make a person more comfortable around others. The new comfort and confidence in their appearance can make a patient more effective during personal and professional interactions with others.

Ear Pinning Consultation Appointment

Patients that are interested in having otoplasty should schedule a consultation appointment with a board-certified surgeon that is experienced in providing results that are natural in appearance and last a lifetime. The doctor will examine the ears of the patient to assess the current condition and appearance of the ears. The examination of the ears will help the surgeon determine the type of results the patient can expect to see and the best otoplasty technique to achieve the desired results. Once the surgeon and the patient are in agreement about the final results that can be achieved, the patient can schedule ear pinning surgery to alter and improve the appearance of the ears.



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