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Insecure About Ears That Stick Out? Consider Otoplasty

Posted March 19, 2024 By: The Office of Birmingham Specialists


Happy little boy pulling his ears outward in a playful manner.

If the projection of your ears is something you’re insecure about, you may be interested in otoplasty, otherwise known as ear pinning surgery. Otoplasty is one of the rare plastic surgeries that can be performed on children, but it is also performed on adults. This blog will discuss reasons why people get otoplasty, what recovery is like, and how permanent results are. 

3 Min Read:

What is Otoplasty?

Otoplasty, also known as ear pinning or ear surgery, is a cosmetic procedure that corrects the appearance of protruding ears, which is considered a minor ear abnormality present in about 5% of children in the Western world. It is most commonly performed on children as young as four to minimize bullying, but adults frequently get this surgery as well. Otoplasty is one of the only aesthetic surgeries children are candidates for.

Otoplasty techniques change the shape, size, or position of the ears and can address almost any ear-related insecurity or anomaly that might detract from a person’s appearance, including:

  • Large or very small ears
  • Folded ear tips
  • Asymmetry in the ears
  • Congenital irregularities
  • Misshapen ears due to injury

The appearance of the ears noticeably improves directly after surgery. Results may improve as full healing occurs in the weeks and months following surgery.

Who Is a Good Candidate for an Otoplasty?

Anybody who feels self-conscious about their ears is a good candidate for otoplasty. That said, young children whose ears have just finished developing are considered excellent candidates. Because the cartilage in their ears is very soft and easily pliable, gentle suture techniques can be used, and the procedure is smoother and easier.

However, many adults have successful otoplasty surgeries every year. One benefit is that mature patients tend to be more diligent with post-operative care. 

What is Otoplasty Recovery Like?

Otoplasty has a relatively short recovery period. Many children who get ear surgery don’t remember the procedure when they’re older. Bandages are worn over the ears for about a week to keep them secure. Rest is essential, and strenuous activity is to be avoided for a short period.

Adults usually return to work and other normal activities after a few days, and children can return to school after about a week. Sports activities are generally limited or require protective gear for a few weeks to a few months. 

Your surgeon will provide detailed post-operative instructions to minimize complications and ensure optimal recovery.

Are Otoplasty Results Permanent?

Yes, ear surgery results last a lifetime. Although the appearance of your ears may change as your face ages naturally, the surgery won’t be “undone.”

Any residual swelling from surgery should be fully resolved after a few months. Sometimes, patients notice asymmetry at this point in recovery and choose to have a revision otoplasty, which is usually quicker than the original procedure. That said, some degree of asymmetry is typical for all pairs of ears and does not usually detract from a person’s appearance.

High satisfaction rates are regularly reported for otoplasty patients. School-aged patients tend to have better psychosocial results in school after the procedure. They are able to develop healthy self-esteem. Quality of life is improved for patients of all ages.

Does Otoplasty Affect Hearing?

This surgery is considered very safe, though any procedure involving anesthesia involves some risks. Only the cartilage of the external ear is manipulated, so the patient’s hearing ability is not affected.

Interested in Otoplasty in Birmingham, AL?

If you’d like to learn more about otoplasty for you or your child, call us at (205) 298-8660 or fill out our online contact form today. We look forward to hearing from you.