Can Ears Be Pinned Back (Pinnaplasty)?

The outer ear does play a small role in our hearing, but can also contributes to our appearance.

Some people have ears they consider to be overly prominent which be embarrassing and a low self-esteem issues. Some research suggests that having prominent ears may lead to isolation and lower confidence. For most people, the outer ear is at an angle of approximately 21–30 degrees to the side of the head. When the angle is greater than 30 degrees, it gives the ears the appearance of sticking out.

To combat this, some patients chose to undergo surgery. In some cases, the parents may select to have their children undergo corrective surgery prior to starting school.

A pinnaplasty, which may also be called an otoplasty, is a procedure completed to improve the appearance of the ears.

An ideal time to have the surgery completed is when a child is around 5 to 6 years old. During this age range, 90% of the ears’ growth is complete. This age is the earliest a patient can undergo surgery. Treatment can occur at any age after 5 to 6.

A nonsurgical technique which is called ear molding or splinting can also be effective, but requires that the child begin treatment in the first two to three weeks of life.

Depending on how old the patient is, a pinnaplasty can be performed under local or general anaesthetic. If the event the procedure is completed under local anaesthetic, a sedative may be given.

It typically takes about an hour to complete a pinnaplasty. The surgeon will make an incision at the back of the ear and pull the skin away from the cartilage. The shape of the cartilage will then be modified to allow the ear to lay closer to the head. If the ears are not even shaped on both sides, the surgeon can also correct this. They will close the wound using sutures and apply a dressing. While the incision will leave a small scar, it is located behind the ear out of sight and will fade over time.

Most patients are able to return home the same day of the surgery, but an overnight stay may be required in some cases. After a few days of healing, you can remove the dressings and replace them with a headband. The headband should be worn both day and night for a week after the procedure.

An over-the-counter pain medication can be used to manage any pain or discomfort. It is also important to rest and avoid strenuous activities for a few weeks. It can take up to six weeks to see the full benefits of the pinnaplasty.

Some complications which can occur with any surgery, including pinnaplasty include:

  • Infection
  • Blood clot
  • Numbness
  • Recurrence of the issue
  • Asymmetry of the ears

Below is a summary of timeframes for resuming routine activities after surgery:

  • 1-2 weeks: return to school
  • 2 weeks: wash hair
  • 4–6 weeks: swim
  • 12 weeks: participate in contact sports

While the above timeframes can be helpful, is critical to check with your doctor before resuming daily activities.

The average cost for pinnaplasty is $3,220. The cost for the procedure will depend on numerous factors such as the provider selected and details of the individual case. Your surgeon can provide you with a more accurate quote.

What is Ear Surgery Recovery Time?