Some peoples ears stick out more than others, this is called protruding ear. Protruding ears can run in families. In some cases one ear is more prominent than the other.
What is pinnaplasty?
Ear pinning, also known as otoplasty or pinnaplasty, is an operation to pin back your ears so that they lie closer to your head.
Why have a pinnaplasty?
Children and adults can be self-conscious about their protruding ears. Some children are teased at school also.
Do I have to have a pinnaplasty?
This is the only way to correct protruding ear. This surgery can be done when the child is young (but after age 5). Of course it does not have to be done. Reshaping of the ears can be undertaken directly after birth. This does not involve surgery, see below.
How is the operation done?
The operation is done under general anaesthesia. A cut it made behind the ears, so there is no obvious scar. Adjustments are made to the cartilage (gristle of the ear), so that the ears lie closer to the head. It may also require refashioning of the underlying cartilage, so that the curves of the ear are recreated. The surgery is often performed during childhood (after the age of five), but can also be performed on adolescents and adults. It is not advised for surgery to be undertaken earlier than age 5, as the cartilage of the ear is less mature/firm at this earlier age. You usually can go home on the same day of the surgery.
After the operation: You need to wear a bandage over your ears for two weeks after surgery. Following this you need to wear protective headband for 6 weeks. This is especially important at night to prevent your ears from being bent forwards whilst you sleep. You need to keep your head dry for two weeks, and need to wait 6 weeks before you can swim again. You can fly anytime after the surgery.
Risks: All operations carry risks as well as benefits. There is the risk of infection and that the reshaping needs further surgery. This is uncommon.
Alternatives: Reshaping of the ears can be done straight after birth if the ears are protruding. It is not an operation, rather it is non surgical reshaping of the ears. It is a simple procedure where small silastic ‘splints’ are fitted to the ears as soon as possible after birth and help to mould the ears to their correct shape. See this website: Earbuddies