What is Otoplasty, and Who is a Good Candidate?
Otoplasty is a procedure performed on children and adults who would like to have their ears lay flatter against their head or who would like the shape of the ear changed. Most people believe otoplasty is only a procedure that pins the ear back to the head, or what’s called “ear pinning.” However, by definition it also includes procedures where the shape of the ear is changed. There are many reasons why people want to change the shape of the ear – including genetic abnormalities – but there can also be cosmetic reasons for the procedure.
When people are exposed to new social situations such as starting a new school, entering a new class, starting a new job or entering college, they may be exposed to a new set of people and feel uncomfortable if their ears do not lay flat against the head or if their ears have an abnormal shape. This is especially common in people with short hair and in those who wear their hair in a ponytail for particular activities. It may not have bothered the person when they were younger, but when these situations arise, ear shape or prominence may begin to bother them.
Otoplasty is performed in children to remove the prominence of the ears or to reshape an abnormally shaped ear the child was born with. With children, this procedure usually needs to be done in the operating room. The downtime after surgery is minimal, but anesthesia can make a child tired for about a week after a procedure.
For adults, both ear pinning and ear reshaping can be performed under local anesthesia in the office in most circumstances. The downtime is minimal, but for more involved cases there can be some discomfort for about a week.