Ear Pinning

Procedure time

60 to 90 mins

Overnight stay

0 – 1 night


Usually local, but sometimes general is used

Final results

3 – 6 months

Ear pinning surgery, also known as an ear correction, otoplasty or pinnaplasty, is a procedure that alters the size, shape or position of the ears. The ears are a prominent feature of the face and can therefore have a large affect on its appearance. Many men, women and children are unhappy with the way their ears look and seek to correct this. This ear pinning overview will be able to give you a short introduction to the surgery.

What can an ear pinning achieve?

Ear pinning surgery is often performed on both children and adults. The aim of an ear pinning procedure is to achieve a proportionate and symmetrical ear shape and size. The surgery involves realigning the “pinna” of the ear, so that it is in a position that is more balanced with the rest of the face.
Protruding or disproportionate ears can be a great source of self-consciousness for many people. It can affect the way that they choose to wear their hair, their lifestyle choices and even their career choices. This procedure can greatly improve the appearance of the whole face. It can help boost self-esteem, therefore reducing the psychological harm that many people may experience.

Why have ear pinning surgery?

The ears are a prominent feature of the face, and can have a major affect on its aesthetic. Many people find that they are unhappy with the shape, size or position of their ears. This can therefore cause them to feel self-conscious about their appearance. The ideal ear pinning candidates can therefore include those who have:

  • Prominent or protruding ears
  • Asymmetrical ears
  • An ear size that is disproportionate to the head size
  • Reduced self-esteem due to ear shape or size
  • Unsatisfying results from a previous ear pinning
Who is suitable for ear pinning surgery?

All ear pinning candidates should be:

  • Over the age of 6
  • Physically healthy
  • Emotionally prepared for surgery
  • Unhappy with the aesthetic of their ears
  • Non-smokers, or have stopped smoking and using all nicotine products for a minimum of 6 weeks before surgery
  • Have no active or ongoing ear infections
Can children have ear pinning surgery?

Prominent ears can be a facial feature that runs in families. Although they do not cause any hearing difficulties, they can be a source of bullying for children. It is therefore quite common for children to have an ear pinning.
Children that are ideal ear pinning candidates include those who are over the age of 6 years old. Children younger than 6 may not be good candidates as their ears have not yet fully matured. Most surgeons also find it important that a child having an ear pinning is able to express their unhappiness with their appearance, and personally wish to have the position or shape of their ears corrected.
There are no differences in the surgical techniques used for children and adults, although children are more likely to have the procedure done under a general anaesthetic.

It is important that you communicate your expectations effectively with your surgeon, so that they are better able to help you achieve your desired outcome. Choosing a highly-experienced Avrupamed surgeon will mean you or your child are in the best hands for an ear pinning surgery.

How is an ear pinning procedure performed?

An ear pinning procedure, or otoplasty, often lasts between 60 to 120 minutes. It may be done as a day procedure, or may have to stay in the hospital for one night. Before you go in for your ear pinning surgery, you must follow the instructions your surgeon has given you for eating, drinking and taking medications the night before surgery.
An ear pinning procedure involves the following steps:

1. Consent form

On the day of your surgery, you will meet your surgeon and anaesthetist to sign a consent form for the procedure. You may have signed the consent form in your pre-operative appointment a week before. After you have signed the form, your surgeon will draw lines around your ears and discuss the exact goals of the procedure.

2. Anaesthesia

Ear pinning surgery can be performed using general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic with or without IV (intravenous) sedation. You and your surgeon will discuss which type of anaesthetic is most suitable for you prior to your surgery. Children often have the procedure done under a general anaesthetic.

 3. Incisions

Your surgeon will make the incision behind your ear, where the ear meets the head. This incision will expose the cartilage so that the surgeon is able to reshape it. Placing the incision in this area means that the scars are generally very well hidden.

4. Cartilage reshaping

The firm, but bendy part of the ear is the cartilage of the ear, and it is this part that your surgeon will reshape and resize during the procedure. Once your surgeon exposes the cartilage beneath the skin, they will reshape the ears and remove any excess skin or cartilage. The technique they choose to use depends on the goals specific to your ear pinning procedure. After your surgeon reshapes the cartilage, they will secure it into its new position with permanent sutures. These sutures prevent the ears from protruding outwards again.

5. Closing of incisions

The surgeon will close your incisions using external stitches. They will then wrap a tight bandage around your head. This helps stabilise your ears in their new position. Your surgeon will strategically place the incisions behind the natural skin creases, or along the hairline so that they are not visible.

6. Return to ward

You are then taken back to the ward so that you may recover from the anaesthetic. Once it is safe, you will be able to return home. Usually you can go home on the same day of your surgery. Although you will be able to see changes instantly after surgery, it can take around 3 to 6 months to appreciate the full cosmetic result of your ear pinning.

What is ear fold surgery?

Ear fold surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that can correct prominent ears. This procedure involves making a small incision in the ear, then inserting an implant or ‘clip’ to pin back the ears. The implant folds the cartilage back into a less protruding position. Although it is a far less invasive treatment than a traditional otoplasty, it carries a greater risk of re-protrusion. Although it is a suitable alternative to an otoplasty for both adults and children with prominent ears, it cannot change the size or shape of the ears. It can only change the position.

What is earlobe repair surgery?

Earlobe repair surgery is different to an otoplasty, and is a procedure that repairs stretched or split earlobes. Earlobes can split due to accidental tearing whilst wearing earrings, or over-stretching from wearing tribal earrings. It is a simple procedure that can be done using a local anaesthetic. You will be able to see the final results around 4 to 6 months postoperatively, and you can re-pierce your ears after 6 months.
Some surgeons offer the “split earlobe repair with rotation flap” technique which can repair split earlobes and allow patients to wear earrings 2 weeks after surgery.

It is important for you to choose a surgeon to perform any of the above procedures. This will ensure you are in the safest hands during surgery. Even if it is only one ear that is concerning you, the surgeon will perform the procedure on both ears so that they are symmetrical.

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