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Ear Pinning

What is ear pinning?

Ear surgery, or otoplasty, is a type of cosmetic plastic surgery procedure aimed at setting prominent ears closer to the head, or reducing the size of larger ears. However, there are other ear problems that can be helped with this surgery. Surgeons can even build new ears for those who were born without them or who lost them through injury.

Who are candidates for ear pinning?

The operation is usually done on children between the ages of 5 and 6; however, ear surgery for adults does occur.

Possible complications associated with ear pinning

Possible complications associated with ear pinning may include:

  • Blood clots on the ears

  • Infection in the cartilage, which can cause scar tissue to form

About the procedure

Although each procedure varies, generally, ear pinning surgeries alter the cartilage just behind the ear. In some cases, cartilage and skin might be removed. In other cases, stitches are used to hold the cartilage permanently in place.

  • Location options may include:

    • Surgeon's office-based surgical facility

    • Outpatient surgery center

    • Hospital outpatient

    • Hospital inpatient

  • Anesthetic options may include:

    • General anesthesia for children

    • Local anesthesia, combined with a sedative (allows the patient to remain awake but relaxed) for adults

  • Average length of procedure:

    • Several hours or longer

  • Some possible short-term side effects of surgery:

    • Throbbing in the ears

    • Aching or mild discomfort

To avoid putting pressure on your ears, you may not be able to sleep on your side.

Medical Reviewers:

  • Godsey, Cynthia, MSN, APRN, MSHE, FNP-BC
  • Trevino, Heather, M., BSN, RNC