Otoplasty (Ear Pinning) the Facts
If you're interested in getting ear pinning surgery, then you've
come to the right place. This article will give you an overview of the medical procedure and it's common costs and risks. You'll also find information about who's most likely to need this type of surgery – plus tips for helping your child get used to having a different hairstyle after the procedure.
Certain ears stick out more than others. If you have a prominent ear, it is possible that you inherited the trait from your parents or that one ear is more prominent than the other. You might want to fix the problem when you start to feel uncomfortable about it.
Whether you’re an adult with prominent ears or a parent whose child experiences embarrassment due to their ears, ear pinning surgery is a simple procedure that can be conducted.
\What does Otoplasty Involve?
On the day of your child’s procedure, the doctor will talk more about the process, explain any further details that you have questions about, and ask you to sign a consent form giving your permission for the surgery. The anesthesiologist will also be there to talk about the details of the anaesthesia
Ear pinning surgery is usually carried out when children are between the ages of five and 15 years old. For younger children, cartilage is quite floppy and holds stitches poorly, and the surgery can be difficult at this age to explain.
Though it may be genetic, studies show that in many cases an overdeveloped posterior helix, the meaty outside lobe of the ear, occurs randomly or as a result of environmental factors. This can cause about 5 percent of Caucasians to have prominent ears.
People with prominent ears are more susceptible to a rare medical condition that may result in sagging cartilage causing the ear to droop. Injuries can also cause this to happen. Generally, having prominent ears should not affect a person’s hearing.
The outer ear is usually at an angle of about 21–30 degrees to the side of the head. If the angle is more than 30 degrees, the ears will appear to “stick out.”
What to Expect
Your child should be up and about within a few hours of the procedure; however, some might stay overnight in hospital until the effects of the anaesthetic wear off. the ears are then wrapped in bandages to prevent them from moving and distorting the shape. The bandage will be off within a few days and your child can go back to their normal activities.
When your child wakes up from their operation, you’ll be there to greet them. Your child may have come back with a drip that is giving your child fluids. The nurses caring for your child will tell you about specific instructions from your child’s surgical team.
After the surgery, your ears will be in the final position you would like them to be. The cartilage behind the ear will have been cut and re-shaped so it will not spring back. A few sutures may be necessary to maintain the new shape of your child's ears. The operation produces a curved scar behind the ear that usually heals well and fades after a few months.
What are the Risks?
- Infection: There is a small risk of infection with any surgery. Receiving prompt treatment with antibiotics can help prevent further complications.
- Bruising: after
- Sometimes, the results of reconstructive or cosmetic surgery are not what the person expected. The ears may be asymmetrical, too close to the head, or too far from the head.
- Numbness: The ears may be numb for several weeks following surgery.
Risks of Anaesthesia
You can be sure that your child’s anaesthetist is a highly skilled and experienced doctor, who will monitor your child throughout the procedure to ensure they are safe and comfortable. In most cases, s/he will make sure your child has a brief stay in hospital to recover from the anaesthesia. It is normal for children to feel a little unwell after the anaesthetic, but this almost always disappears within a few hours.
Altenatives to Otoplasty surgery
Non-surgical ear pinning is an ear pinning procedure that does not require incisions. Instead of removing skin and cartilage to correct protruding ears, cosmetic surgery will place permanent sutures in the ears and force the cartilage to adopt a new position.
Ears are positioned closer to the head by stabilizing and reshaping the supporting tissue with only sutures (stitches). Not everyone is a candidate for incisionless ear pinning and will require an expert evaluation by your cosmetic surgeon.
Non-Surgical Alternatives to Ear Pinning
Sorribes methods are non-surgical treatments for forward protruding ears. The treatments are a combination of an adhesive patch, ear brace and ear shell. The product gently moulds the cartilage of the ear and changes the angle of the ear until it lies close to the head. The result is permanent. Compared to cosmetic surgery it is gentle, painless, has fewer side effects and lowers costs.
Teenagers especially are more than happy to avoid the inconveniences of having to wear a head bandage subsequent to pinning ears.
Infant ear pinning is done using gentle surgical adhesives and tape that is used to mould the ear back, over soft wax to reform the ear cartilage. Newborn cartilage is malleable and may be permanently reformed with this procedure. This moldability is felt to be due to the elasticity of the cartilage from the influence of maternal hormones and diminishes over the first months of life. The taping process is continued as tolerated by the child with regular office visits for several weeks. It is generally painless but does require motivated caretakers to work through the process.
Newborns 0-4 weeks of age are most likely to respond to ear taping procedures, although taping may be attempted up to 2-3 months of age.