Prominent Ear Correction (Pinnaplasty or Otoplasty)

The surgery to correct prominent ears is called pinnaplasty or otoplasty. There is an enormous variation in ear shape, and may people have 2 ears which are very different. As one ages, the cartilage in the ear becomes firmer, although 90% of ear growth has occurred by the age of 8 years of age. Pinnaplasty surgery however, can be carried out at any age, from childhood to adulthood. For most people, the features that they dislike most are very asymmetrical ears, or the fact that the ears protrude or stick out too much from the sides of their head. The reasons for ear prominence are either due to a failure to form the fold of the ear cartilage called the anti-helical fold and/or that the bowl part of the ear or ‘concha’ sticks too much from the side of the face. In some people both causes are the reason for their ear prominence.

Over the years, a variety of surgical techniques have been described to reshape the ear cartilage. Techniques that cut into or remove part of the cartilage of the ear are often successful, but do run a higher risk of complications. Mr Eccles favours surgical techniques that use sutures (stitches), placed in the cartilage to remodel and rotate it; as this is less traumatic to the ear, there is a lower risk of surgical complications, and it produces a more natural appearance of the ear. The surgery is carried out from the back of the ear so that the resulting (usually fine) scar is hidden in the natural crease between the back of the ear and the scalp. This surgery can be performed under General or Local Anaesthesia, although in younger children general anaesthesia is usually advocated.

How long will I need to stay in hospital?
Most patients are able to go home the same day after pinnaplasty surgery, whether it has been under general or local anaesthetic..

How long does it take to recover from pinnaplasty surgery?
Although there is some minor discomfort after pinnaplasty surgery it is not usually painful. There may be some bruising and swelling of the ears. This has most often settled by four weeks. A sports head band is advocated all the time for the first few weeks, then only necessary at night. This is to stop the sutures loosening if the ear is pulled accidentally by someone or something. It is wise to avoid contact sports for a few weeks for similar reasons.

How long does pinnaplasty surgery last?
Pinnaplasty results are usually life long, especially if the problem has not recurred within the first six months.