Ear Pinning surgery, known in the medical world as otoplasty, is a surgical option to address prominent or protruding ears. This type of procedure can be performed for medically indicated reasons, such as genetic outer ear malformations and trauma, however, it is most commonly performed for cosmetic and aesthetic purposes. An otoplasty procedure repositions protruding ears by reshaping part of the cartilage, allowing them to lie flatter and closer to the side of the head. This procedure is common for children and young adults, and is particularly successful at this age as the ear cartilage is easily manipulated.
At Adelaide Plastic Surgery we also offer a non-surgical alternative for ear correction on infants. Dr Bernard Carney is an Australian consultant for EarBuddies, a range of ear splints that correct a variety of early ear problems caused by abnormal or missing folds in a baby’s ear
If you are considering ear surgery, or would like to find out more about our non-surgical options, one of our plastic surgeons would be happy to discuss this with you in an initial consultation
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The Procedure + Surgical Techniques
The surgical technique for an otoplasty procedure will be dependent on your individual surgical needs and your surgeon’s preferences.
For a surgical otoplasty, your surgeon will use a scalpel to score the ear cartilage near the fold where the ear joins the head. This allows the surgeon to remodel the shape of the ear into a new position. In some instances where the ear protrudes significantly, your surgeon may have to remove an ellipse of cartilage entirely. The incision is then closed with sutures, which holds the cartilage in its new position.
For further information on otoplasty surgery, we highly recommend you watch the animated video on our website, which outlines this procedure in more detail. If you are interested in learning more about having your child professional fitted for EarBuddie splints, click here .
Hospital Stay and Anaesthesia
Depending on individual circumstances, your surgery can be safely performed either under a general anaesthetic with an anaesthetist present, or, in our rooms in our accredited theatre with just a local anaesthetic. Children will often require general anaesthetic, and may need an overnight stay in hospital. Your plastic surgeon will discuss your choices in your initial consultation and determine which option is safest for you.
In order to keep your consultation as smooth and efficient as possible, we ask that you please bring all relevant documentation with you on the day. This includes your referral letter (if applicable to your surgery), Medicare card, private health insurance details and any third party or return to work insurance information.
During your initial consultation with one of our specialist plastic surgeons, you will have an extended opportunity to discuss expectations and desired outcomes, along with any questions you may have about the procedure.
You will then meet with one of our experienced nurses, where you will have clinical images taken in our blue room as a before and after reference for both yourself and your surgeon (please note that all our images are confidential and are stored securely online with the current privacy act). During this time, you may also be fitted with a compression garment.
The final stage involves meeting with your surgeon’s personal assistant. You will be given an in-depth quote, outlining the surgeon, hospital and anaesthetist fees, along with some take home information your procedure.
There is a lot of information to take in after your first consultation. We encourage our patients to go home and discuss their procedure with loved ones and come back for a subsequent visit. We find our patients almost always come back with additional questions they hadn’t previously thought of, and this second visit allows you to go into your surgery feeling confident and fully informed about your procedure.
If this consultation is for your child, your surgeon may request returning for a subsequent visit when they are older. It is important to mention that otoplasty is not performed before the child is old enough to comprehend the surgery and able to be involved in the decision-making process.
We recommend that you allow an hour for this consultation. Please keep this in mind when organising parking so that you don’t feel the need to rush.
Before your procedure
There are a number of
things you can start to implement before your procedure, to encourage a smooth
recovery and ensure you are as comfortable as possible post-surgery.
It is important that you:
- Exercise, having good physical health will significantly help your recovery process
- Provide a complete medical history for your specialist plastic surgeon, including all current medications, as some may need to be stopped prior to surgery.
- Quit smoking
- If you’re having general anaesthesia, it is important that you pre-arrange someone to transport you too and from your surgery, as well as stay with you 48 hours after returning home.
- Ensure you follow pre-operative instructions, such as fasting times, or your procedure may have to be cancelled.
- Prepare your recovery area! You’ll want to have everything you need to recover easily accessible and within arm’s reach. We suggest comfortable pillows, icepacks, prescribed medications, emergency contact details, a phone, as well as things to keep you entertained.
Recovery time is highly individual and your time frame for recovery will vary depending on your individual surgery details, the nature of your employment and your overall level of health. Your surgeon will discuss this with you prior to surgery, and it is important to allow yourself the recommended recovery time. Vigorous activity and exercise should be avoided for the first month, however gentle walking is fine after the first few days.
On discharge, you will be given specific postoperative instructions to facilitate recovery, and a follow-up appointment will be made with your plastic surgeon. These instructions will cover everything you will need to know in order to make your recovery as smooth and comfortable as possible.
After surgery a bandage is applied covering your ears tightly like a headband, and will remain in place until your first post-operative appointment, which is between seven to 10 days depending on your individual surgery details. After the bandage is removed you may be required to wear a headband at night to complement the surgery and help protect the shape of your ears. We recommend sleeping with your head elevated on two pillows to help reduce swelling. Most adults and children can resume normal activities, such as work or school, after the bandages have been removed, as long as care is taken to ensure the ears aren’t knocked. Vigorous activities and contact sport should be avoided for up to six weeks post-surgery. Our team is here to support you to make a swift, uncomplicated recovery. We offer a 24/7 on-call medical assistance service for all our post-operative patients.
Ready to book an initial consultation?
If you are ready to book your initial consultation, please book online or call us to book with one of our helpful team members. We’ll be pleased to help you start your journey, your way.
Not quite ready or have a question to ask?
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