How an Otoplasty Ear Pinning Can Improve Your Looks.

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( If you have a child that’s conscious of his or her ears that stick out because others make fun of them, that problem can be corrected. A surgical procedure called otoplasty ear pinning can resolve that problem, helping your child to be more satisfied with their appearance and enjoy a better quality of life.

Often, children are born with ears that appear normal. As they grow, part of the ear may grow too much, or the ear becomes malformed. A child’s ear reaches full size when they reach five years old. Most surgical corrections are performed when the child is five or six years old, but adults can have it done, too, for cosmetic reasons.

Who should consider ear pinning?

There are several situations where ear pinning can provide a better look for your child’s ears. They include:

  • Ears that are considered too big or too small. They can be made a more comfortable size.
  • Ears that stick out and are very noticeable. Ear pinning can move them closer to the head and reduce visibility.
  • Ears that you’re very concerned about. Modifying them can improve your self-image.
  • Ears that have been injured and the shape have been changed.
  • Ears that don’t have a top fold or other ones. Folds can be added to make them appear more normal.
  • Ears that are large at the top and bend forward (lop ear) can be corrected.

All of the above situations can be improved, which can help your child to be more comfortable. Once corrected, it can enable him or her to live a more satisfying life and increase self-confidence.

What happens during the consultation?

When a prospective patient comes in for a consultation, the surgeon will start by finding out what you want in the way of treatment and what you expect as a result of the surgery. After that, a medical history will be needed, along with a list of current medications and supplements. Some of these may need to be stopped before the surgery. Patients need to be in good health before treatment can be given.

The doctor will also want to ensure that the patient is eating a healthy diet. Smoking will have to be completely stopped for at least two weeks before surgery and two weeks or more afterward. Using tobacco slows healing.

If approved for surgery, the surgeon will then conduct a digital scan of the ears. From the computer, the surgeon will be able to show you (in 3D) what the ears will look like after the surgery.

What happens during the otoplasty procedure?

An ear pinning is usually conducted on children using general anesthesia. Adults will usually be given an IV with local anesthesia. General anesthesia will require that a breathing tube be inserted, and that vital signs be monitored.

One of the more common methods the surgeon uses will start with making an incision in the crease behind the ear. This will help to hide any scar. If other incisions are necessary, they will be made within the ear in such a way that they will be hidden by the folds of the ear.

The next step is to remove any excess cartilage and soft tissue. Cartilage may also be rearranged or contoured to change the shape of part of the ear.

Sutures may be used to create folds or to help hold the ear closer to the head. These may be temporary during healing or permanent.

What’s the recovery period like?

Once the surgeon has completed the surgery, the patient is taken to a room where the medications are allowed to wear off. This will likely take more than one hour, and someone will need to drive the patient home.

The patient will wake up with their head wrapped in a bandage. This will need to be worn for about a week, but it will depend on what kind of surgery was performed. During that time, they won’t take it off. They can’t wash their hair while wearing it , and they shouldn’t wear glasses or earrings. Some follow-up appointments will be necessary.

After the head bandage is taken off, a smaller elastic headband will need to be worn at night. This should be worn while sleeping for two to six weeks to help prevent the ears from being folded while in bed, and from putting any pressure on your ears. You’ll need to sleep on your back with your head elevated for a couple of weeks while healing.

Your ears will likely be red and swollen for several weeks. The swelling will prevent you from seeing what your ears will look like until it goes down. You can expect some pain while recovering, and your ears may itch, but you need to avoid scratching them.

While recovering, the patient needs to avoid strenuous activities for about two weeks, but may perform light duties and return to work or school after one week. Activities such as sports shouldn’t be engaged in for at least six weeks to two months.

What risks surround ear pinning?

As with any type of surgery, some potential risks are involved. This surgery is performed many times each year, and it’s considered a rather safe procedure. The risks are minimal, but may include temporary changes in skin sensation, scarring, recurrence, problems with stitches, asymmetry, infection, blood clots, and possible overcorrection.

What results can be expected?

After the surgery and once your ears have healed, you’ll find that you’ll be relieved that your ears no longer have the same problem. Women can wear their hair up if they want, everyone can expect a greater acceptance from others, and have an improved self-image. You’ll also be more comfortable around other people.

If you’re looking for an otoplasty ear pinning for your child or yourself, Dr. Theo Gerstle, a plastic surgeon, can help you. He regularly performs many kinds of plastic surgery. You can learn more, or set up a consultation, by calling Lexington Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at 859.279.2111.

Staff Writer; Ron Johnson