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What Is Ear Surgery (Otoplasty)?


Cosmetic ear surgery, also known as otoplasty surgery or ‘ear pinning’ is a surgical procedure designed to reduce the size of large ears or pin back ears that protruding ears. The majority of patients that have this straightforward treatment are children in need of ear reshaping or attention to protruding ears. It can greatly enhance the appearance and give a renewed sense of confidence with little downtime and discomfort.

Am I a Candidate? The ideal candidate for an otoplasty procedure is someone seeking a surgical procedure with permanent results to improve the appearance of protruding ears. Surgical correction of the ears is one of the few cosmetic operations performed on children. It also tends to be a more common option for males.

Before Surgery – Prior to an ear pinning procedure, you must obtain as much information as is necessary to enable you to make a fully informed decision about the surgery and to ensure you feel comfortable about the operation.

During Surgery – During treatment, the cosmetic surgeon will make an incision behind the ear, then remove the necessary amounts of cartilage and skin required to achieve the right effect. The cartilage will then be pinned back with stitches that remain permanently. The whole procedure takes around 2-3 hours.

Recovery – You should only need 1-2 days of downtime to recover from an otoplasty procedure.  Learn more about the otoplasty recovery.

Benefits – Cosmetic ear surgery or otoplasty can be performed to reshape the ears in many different ways. The most common procedure is to correct ears that stick out by setting them back closer to the head. Cosmetic ear surgery can also reduce large ears, reduce large or stretched earlobes, reshape the cartilage in ears, or increase the size of very small ears.

Risks and Complications – Ears will be sore and tender immediately following an otoplasty or cosmetic ear surgery operation, with some mild bruising and swelling. There may be an odd sensation of tightness of the ears during healing, but this usually disappears after a week or so. Rare side effects of an ear pinning procedure include bleeding underneath the skin, a reaction to the anaesthetic, infection and skin numbness.

Cost of an otoplasty or cosmetic ear surgery can range from £1000-£3000 depending upon the type of operation required.

Choosing an Otoplasty Surgeon – It is important to pick a reputable, experienced cosmetic surgeon when considering ear surgery. In young children, it is worth investigating if your practitioner has experience in treating children.

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