What is ear pinning (otoplasty)?

Boy following otoplasty to correct prominent ears.Prominent ears can make a person self-consciousness but is easily corrected. Ear pinning (or, otoplasty) involves decreasing the projection of the ears (how much they stick out) or their overall size to improve one’s appearance.

Two reasons exist for a large or over projecting ear: 1) lack of deep outer fold, or 2) overabundance of cartilage in the cup of the ear. Dr. Panossian’s background in facial plastic surgery allows him to identify and correct both problems reliably.  

How is ear pinning (otoplasty) performed?

Schematic of otoplasty/ear pinning technique.Ear pinning (otoplasty) is performed usually with a hidden incision behind the ear. Dr. Panossian manipulates and gently weakens the ear cartilage to create a deeper, more defined fold. Sutures will then hold the ear in its new shape. Sometimes, Dr. Panossian may need to cut out excess cartilage in the bowl or cup of the ear that is causing the prominence. The same procedure is carried out on both ears to get excellent symmetry. The incision is then closed with sutures. Otoplasty is an outpatient procedure and takes between 1.5 and 2 hours to complete.


What is the recovery?

Ear pinning (otoplasty) is frequently performed on both children and adults. Immediately following surgery, Dr. Panossian may apply a bulky dressing to cover the ears. Throbbing and discomfort over the ears may occur for the first few days. Dr. Panossian will prescribe pain medication. Dressings are removed one week later in the office and a lighter, removable headband-type dressing is used. You may begin bathing normally but must avoid scrubbing the ears. Stitches are usually dissolvable and will disappear on their own in a week or two.


What are the risks and complications?

Most individuals are thrilled by the outcome of their ear pinning (otoplasty). In some cases, slight asymmetry may occur during the postoperative period. This is usually subtle and does not require correction.

Usual postoperative restrictions apply. You must avoid heavy lifting, contact sports, or aggressive exercise for 4 to 6 weeks.  

Additionally, as with any surgery, ear pinning (otoplasty) carries a risk of bleeding, infection, or adverse anesthetic reactions. Adherence to Dr. Panossian’s pre-and postoperative instructions will limit your chance of having these problems. 

In the event of a small blood collection underneath the skin (hematoma), Dr. Panossian may need to drain the fluid with a small needle in the office. Antibiotics may be required to treat an infection. Sometimes, Dr. Panossian may need to numb up the area to release a small abscess or hematoma.

Contact Dr. Panossian’s office at any time to go over your questions regarding operative instructions and postoperative care. Never hesitate to call us in the event of an emergency or for clarification.