Otoplasty- Ear Pinning- Dallas, Texas

Having large, protruding ears is a source of self-consciousness for many adults and children alike. For this reason, many younger patients seek out otoplasty as a means of addressing what is medically termed "prominent ears."

An otoplasty is a surgical procedure that involves reshaping the ears, usually to make them less prominent or more symmetrical. This is a common cosmetic surgery for people who are self-conscious about their ears, as well as individuals with birth defects, injury or trauma-related deformities. The procedure can also change the shape and size of large ears, minimize scarring and create curves in irregularly shaped ears

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What is Otoplasty?

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Otoplasty is a surgical procedure used to change the shape, position, and/or size of the ears. It can be performed on children and adults alike for various reasons. Commonly, otoplasty is performed for aesthetic purposes to create more aesthetically pleasing ears, but it can also be done to correct abnormalities caused by birth defects or other injuries.

During an otoplasty procedure, the plastic surgeon will make incisions behind the ear to allow them access to reshape or reposition the ear cartilage. They may also remove some excess skin if needed.

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Differences between Otoplasty and Microtia Repair

Microtia repair is another type of common procedure involving reconstructive surgery of the outer ear, but it functions much differently than an otoplasty as they are intended to repair deformity rather than simply improve appearance. Generally speaking, infants less than 8 weeks old who suffer from microtia do not require surgery right away, though they must be closely monitored by their physician.

Otoplasty and microtia repair are both procedures that seek to correct and improve the appearance of the ears. However, they have distinct differences. Otoplasty, also known as cosmetic ear surgery, aims to reshape the size or shape of those external parts of the ear that are visible on the outside. This includes pinning back overly protruding ears by removing excess cartilage and tissue as well as cauterizing and trimming them to secure the desired shape.

On the other hand, microtia repair requires a more involved process which involves a team of experts such as pediatric otolaryngologists, audiologists, and even plastic surgeons depending on severity. It is used for treating congenital anomalies inside the outer parts of an infant's ear caused by various kinds of deformities due to tissues lacking or not forming properly at birth.

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Otoplasty Benefits

Many patients with prominent ears attempt to strategically hide them due to emerging self-consciousness about their appearance. Both boys and girls also typically wear their hair in such a way as to conceal their ears. In some cases, they will avoid social interaction during this critical period of development.

Adults too feel self-conscious about their prominent ears. Attempts to hide their ears into adulthood often become ingrained habits that limit hairstyles, earrings and jewelry, and social interactions. Fixing prominent ears can restore self-confidence and allow people to interact freely with others.

How is Ear Pinning Performed?

Prominent ears have many causes but the three primary are:

  • Lack of an anti-helical fold
  • Increased conchal scaphoid angle
  • Conchal bowl hypertrophy

These terms simply mean that prominent ear cartilage at the base of the ear pushes the ear away from the head and a lack of ear folding exacerbates the problem.

Otoplasty is an effective procedure for reshaping and repositioning ears that may be too large or protrude excessively. Typically, incisions are made behind the ears, to hide any signs of surgery. The cartilage in the ears is reshaped as necessary, with excess skin or cartilage removed if needed to achieve the desired results. Otoplasty can often be performed without removing any ear cartilage by simply suturing the ear into a different shape and position.

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4 Steps To Balancing The Ears

  • The ear cartilage is first exposed.
  • The excess cartilage is removed.
  • The ear folds are reconstructed.
  • The sutures are place to pull or pin the ears closer to the head.

How Long Does The Procedure Take?

The procedure takes about 2 hours and requires a great deal of precision. Once completed the ears are splinted for several weeks to hold them in the correct position during healing and to prevent recurrence. This is usually accomplished by wearing a headband over the ears.

How Old Should You Be To Have Ear Pinning Surgery?

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Surgical otoplasty is typically done around the age of 5-6 years old, before children start school. This is because the ear is almost fully adult size at this age and it helps prevent teasing at school. Another common time for otoplasty is during the early teenage years, around 13-15, when adolescents become aware of their cosmetic deformity during puberty. Adults may also seek otoplasty if they have the means and desire for a surgical procedure they've wanted for a long time. There is no age limit for otoplasty.

What Can I Expect After Ear Surgery?

Otoplasty is relatively painless and the ears often feel numb after surgery. The ears will typically be swollen for several months making it difficult to see the fine details of the ears. Antibiotics are given to prevent infection and ointment is used over the incisions behind the ears. It takes several months to see the final results but the ears will always be improved over the pre-surgery appearance.

Are There Any Contraindications For Treatment?

Similar to other surgeries, individuals with certain medical conditions may not be candidates for otoplasty. These include severe heart, lung, and kidney problems as well as any disorder that makes anesthesia unsafe. Additionally, people who have bleeding disorders or collagen vascular diseases that could interfere with wound healing will likely need to be evaluated by their primary care doctor prior to going through with the surgery. Though milder conditions may not exclude someone from otoplasty entirely, they should still be discussed in detail with your surgeon prior to scheduling the appointment. With proper evaluation and planning, most eligible people can safely and effectively undergo this corrective ear surgery.

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Preparing For Your Procedure


Otoplasty is an elective procedure. Patients should be in good overall health with no co-morbid conditions. Patients should refrain from smoking, diet pills, aspirin, and other medications that might interfere with anesthesia.

Post-care Recovery

Patients will need to wear a headband to splint the ears and hold them in the proper position for several weeks after the procedure. The incision should be kept clean and treated with antibiotic ointment.

Final Results

The ears are very susceptible to swelling and will be swollen for several months after surgery. The final results will be evident after several months as the swelling resolves.

Will I have visible scars?

No. The only incision is inside the mouth so there are no visible scars.

Can My Earlobes Be Resized?

Yes. If the earlobe also protrudes from the head then it can be pulled back as part of the otoplasty. If the earlobe is too large it can be reduced in size to match the rest of the ear. Earlobe reduction is done by removing a central pie-shaped piece of earlobe to reduce the earlobe.

What Will Happen To My Ear Piercings?

Typically, ear piercings will not be affected by otoplasty. If an earlobe reduction is necessary then it might require re-piercing the earlobe.

How Old Do I Have To Be For Otoplasty?

Children are often affected by prominent ears. If done too early, otoplasty can restrict the growth of the ears. For this reason, it is important to wait until the ear is near adult size: about 5 - 7 years of age.

Does Insurance Cover Surgery?

It depends on the insurance plan. In childhood, this is often recognized as a “birth defect” and can be covered by insurance. In adulthood, it is more difficult to get the procedure covered and it is often listed as an exclusion or pre-existing condition in many insurance policies

Can I Pin My Ears Back Without Surgery?

In infancy, the ears can be molded without surgery. This can be done in the first few weeks of life while the ear cartilage is pliable. However, after several weeks the ear cartilage becomes permanently formed and is not amenable to molding.

Can I Finance My Ear Pinning Surgery?

Yes. We offer patient financing through Care Credit, Alphaeon, and PatientFi.

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Let's Discuss How We Can Help You Feel More Confident

At our practice, we employ the latest technologies and research-based techniques so that each patient can feel safe in the knowledge that they are receiving the highest standard in healthcare.

Dr. Burns and our team will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have before or after an ear pinning procedure. We are committed to providing attentive and comprehensive care which helps ensure a successful recovery and peace of mind during the healing process.

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