For those of us embarrassed by over-projecting or protruding ears, there are options beyond simply hiding behind long hair or tucking them under a cap.

A more permanent solution is available through a relatively simple outpatient procedure called otoplasty, or cosmetic ear surgery. The goal of an otoplasty ‘ear pinning’ operation is to create ears that are in balance with the rest of the face.

Otoplasty is usually done to set protruding ears closer to the head. This is typically a genetically inherited issue with the ears protruding too far from the head. Otoplasty is regularly performed on children as well as adults.

There are two different anatomic problems that cause this to occur. The first is extra excessive ear cartilage pushing the ear forward and out and the second is usually the lack of a standard ear cartilage fold that ordinarily holds the ear back.

The Procedure

During surgery, an incision is created behind the ear in the crease where the ear meets the head. From this incision, the extra cartilage can be removed, and the missing fold in the cartilage be recreated if needed. The patient is sutured and dressed with a head dressing that must stay on for one week.

Otoplasty ‘ear pinning’ surgery is regularly done on an outpatient basis. You will feel discomfort, but any pain can be controlled with medication. You can expect your ears to be swollen and ache and this can last for a few weeks. Stitches may come out in 5-7 days.