Otoplasty (Ear Pinning) Surgery

Otoplasty (Ear Surgery- Pinning) for Patients in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, San Jose and Palo Alto

Protruding or misshapen ears can have a significant impact on an individual's self-esteem. For this particular defect, children face a difficult struggle as they navigate through their developing social world. For adults the unwanted attention can make it hard to feel especially attractive or build self esteem. Women often try and mask their protruding ears by wearing their hair down. Ears should naturally lay close to the head to help outline the face and create a balanced proportion and symmetry to the entire face. For any person that is embarrassed, uncomfortable or self-conscious about the appearance of their ears, a surgical treatment called otoplasty (or ear pinning surgery) can reshape the ears to a normal, natural contour. We each have extensive training in surgical treatment of the external ear and offer a technique with highly reliable results.

Pre-Operative Process

Am I a candidate for otoplasty (ear pinning)?

Common reasons for seeking out this type of surgery:

  • Oversized ears
  • Ears that protrude from the sides of the head
  • Misshapen ears with abnormal folds or contours

Parents often ask about timing for treating their children's ears. This can be a very personal decision for a family. If possible, we recommend correcting these deformities just before elementary school starts. This time typically coincides with a change in the social environment in schools, when a child is at higher risk of being teased or insulted.

We have also treated many older children and adults who never addressed their ears at an earlier age. We pride ourselves in being able to deliver extremely successful surgical correction for patients of any age that deal with this deformity. It is extremely rewarding to eliminate a feature that may have a negative impact on one’s self esteem.


How is this surgery performed?

Prior to an otoplasty, your surgeon will take time to assess the most natural position of ears. The surgery can be performed under local anesthesia, sedation or general anesthesia. The procedure takes 1-2 hours to complete. Internal sutures are placed in precise locations in order to create the desired contour and shape of the ear. There are some instances where excess cartilage needs to be excised and sutures can be used to bring the ear closer to the head. All incisions are hidden on the backside of the ear in the natural folds.

Post-Operative Recovery Process

What should I expect after my otoplasty?

Patients return home the same day of surgery after recovering from either sedation or anesthesia. You will need a friend or family member to drive you home following the procedure. Patients should expect about a one-week recovery. Each patient will receive a headband that protects the ears as they recover. This is worn all day for the first few days and then at night only for a few weeks. We advise most patients to avoid strenuous exercise for 2-3 weeks after their procedure. Any form of contact sports should be avoided for 6 weeks.

The ear is a complex blend of contour and shadowing. To recreate a natural contour of an ear requires precise manipulation of the skin and cartilage. It is essential that the ears are set at a natural position, not "pulled" too tightly. We have extensive experience with cosmetic surgery of the ear, but also take great pride in our reconstructive ear surgery for congenital and traumatic ear defects. Our experience allows us to deliver consistent and reliable results. Correction of even minor deformities can have profound benefits to appearance and self-esteem. We have provided otoplasty before and after photos of our patients to help you visualize the possibilities.