Ear (Otoplasty)


Ear pinning or otoplasty is the surgical procedure of resetting the ears closer to the head for a more natural shape and position, with a less protruding appearance.

To correct the appearance of imbalanced or protruding ears with surgical techniques.

Otoplasty is a brief procedure that takes approximately 1.5 hours. It is most commonly done with patients asleep. There is an incision made on the back side of the ear that leaves a scar at a natural contour, so it is rarely visible even when someone is standing behind you. There are two things that commonly need to be treated. The first is to recreate a fold in the ear that did not develop. This is referred to as the anti-helical fold. This is done by carefully placing sutures that will fold the ear into a more natural shape. The second is to offset the increased size of the conchal bowl. On occasion a reduction in the size of the bowl can be performed, but normally a suture technique is used instead to pull the bowl towards the head, making it appear smaller.

Dr Shortt will go over your options, so you feel that your surgery is specifically planned for you.

When to consider having this procedure?

In general, candidates for an otoplasty or ear pinning surgery are aged 7 – 70 years. It is one of the only cosmetic procedures routinely done of children, to minimize self-esteem concerns that can come with teasing. Ideally the ear would be fully formed, but surgery is often done when children are around 7 years of age, as the ear has grown significantly.The trade off is to balance growth before surgery with the social implications with waiting. Patients should be in good health and are able to have general anaesthetic, and may have one of the following characteristics:


Desire to correct the appearance of imbalanced or protruding ears with surgical techniques.


To minimize self-esteem concerns that can come with teasing.


To correct asymmetry or to restore balance in comparison to the other facial features.

What is the recovery time?

In general, the recovery time following an otoplasty procedure is minimal. However, the cartilage is very elastic and it takes time for the result to become permeant. In the first week patients have a head dressing that is put on in the operating room. Following that they can wear a sweat band to keep the ears pinned against the head for two weeks, full time other than showering. Finally for an additional month, a sweatband should be worn at night for sleeping. Contact sports should be avoided early on.

As with any surgery under general anaesthetic, there are potential risks or complications to consider. During your private consultation, Dr Shortt will be able to estimate the time he expects it will take you to recover, and how soon you can expect to get back to the different activities you usually do.

Learn more about Face Surgery in Dr Shortt’s Blog

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