Otoplasty (ear pinning) is designed to correct protruding ears. This may be addressed either as a child (as young as 6) or in adults. The incisions are confined to the skin behind the ear and involve some combination of sutures, cartilage excision and skin removal. A headband is generally worn for about 6 weeks after surgery to ensure that the sutures are not stressed. Recovery is fairly quick, about 1 or 2 weeks.
There is not necessarily a certain age, more a maturity level before undergoing surgery. Parents need to be sure that the child wants to have the surgery and that the parents are not pushing surgery because of a perceived imperfection. Some children are ready as early as six. A good time to begin talking to your child is when they start showing subtle signs such as hiding the ears behind the hair or wearing hats.
Anesthesia, usually twilight anesthesia and a local anesthetic, is used to control pain during otoplasty surgery. You will also be prescribed pain medication to use after your surgery. Most of our otoplasty patients report only mild discomfort / soreness following surgery. For younger children general anesthesia is sometimes used.
Although no two patients or surgeries are exactly alike, scars from otoplasty are usually well hidden behind the ears so that they will not be easily seen.
When ear surgery is performed by an experienced board certified plastic surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. However, as with any surgery, complications are possible. A small percentage of patients may develop a blood clot on the ear. It may dissolve naturally or can be drawn out with a needle. As with any surgery, infection is a risk, but these infections are usually well treated with antibiotics. Recurrence of the protrusion is also a possibility if the ears are not protected after surgery.
Most otoplasty surgeries performed by Dr. Houser are performed in our fully AAASF accredited surgical suite. Otoplasty patients requiring general anesthesia will be conducted in a hospital or surgery center.
Dr. Houser frequently performs otoplasty. As a board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Houser is highly trained and experienced in plastic surgery for all areas of the face and body. Dr. Houser is also active in resident education in Columbus, Ohio, both at The Ohio State University in the plastic surgery program as well as in the general surgery program at Mount Carmel Medical Center.