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Ear Surgery

Ear Pinning Surgery (Otoplasty) - Vancouver, WA

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Overview

Ear surgery, also known as ear pinning or otoplasty, surgically corrects the size, shape, or position of one or both ears for an improved physical appearance. For the most part, the operation is done on children between the ages of 4 and 14. Ears are almost fully grown by age 4, and the earlier the surgery, the less teasing and ridicule the child will have to endure. Ear surgery on adults is also possible, and there are generally no additional risks associated with ear surgery on an older patient. Patients in the Portland metro area considering ear surgery for themselves or their child, can use this information will give them a basic understanding of the procedure: when it can help, how it's performed, and what results can be expected. It can't answer all questions, since a lot depends on individual circumstances. Patients should be sure to ask Dr. Gabriel or Dr. Champaneria during their consultation at PeaceHealth Medical Group if there is anything they don't understand about the procedure.

Torn Earlobe Care

Ear surgery may also involve a torn earlobe. This can occur with heavy earrings or through other trauma. The surgical repair of a torn earlobe is generally straightforward. The skin cleft between the two sides of the tear is removed, and using either a skin graft or donated cartilage, a new lobe is reconstructed. Sutures are used that are placed in both the front and back of the ear and will remain intact for several weeks.  Several post-operative visits may be required so that the sutures can be removed in several phases to ensure the lobe is strong and aesthetically appealing. 

Surgical Technique

In the cases of protruding ears, the cartilages are reformed and sometimes supported by splints. Soft tissues may also be trimmed away. The incisions are made behind the ear to reveal the ear’s confines. The ears will be repositioned by tightening the skin and then sutured. In cases of hidden ears, when cartilages are not fully developed, manipulations may include reshaping the cartilages by pulling or repositioning while splints are placed as supports. Sometimes, tissue grafting is also necessary to render volume.

During/After Surgery

Otoplasties are performed with general anesthesia in an accredited surgical facility. It takes 1 to 2 hours to complete, and the patient will be sent home for recovery. The ear will be bandaged to keep the new position and shape in place. This also helps so that children cannot touch or play with their ears, which may complicate healing. Activities must be limited, especially within the first week. Scars will remain hidden behind the ears or within the natural folds if the incisions are made in front of the ear.

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Recovery Time  
3-4 Weeks
Average Procedure Time  
2-3 Hours
Post-op Follow-up  
Varies
Procedure Recovery Location  
Out-Patient
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Ear Surgery FAQs

Lasting Results?

The ears typically mature faster than any other part of the body, therefore, at an appropriate age and time when surgical adjustments are made, the results are generally long lasting. Even as the body changes due to age and gravity, the changes to the ear will be minimal and a secondary otoplasty is usually not needed.

When To Have Otoplasty?

On average, 5-6 year olds are ideal candidates for otoplasty as the ear will be already developed and the cartilage and tissues will still be soft, making it easy to reshape. This age is also recommended as it is a time before any schooling, which helps to avoid teasing.

One Or Both Ears?

Usually, the condition is symmetrical to both ears. The final shape that the surgery will aim for will depend on the initial structure of the ear and how cartilages are placed. If the procedure is only for one ear, the shape will be patterned after the normally formed ear.  

Related Procedures

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.