Ear Pinning surgery, or Otoplasty, is designed to correct the deformity of prominent ears by repositioning the ears closer to the head and creating folds that may be lacking in some children and adults. This is done by removing a small amount of skin from behind the ear and placing permanent sutures in the ear cartilage so that the ears heal in a more natural position. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia and takes approximately one hour to complete.
When the head dressing is first removed, the ears may appear flat to the head or over-corrected. This will normalize over time. We ask that the patient sleep with a head band around the ears once the dressing is removed (a thick exercise type sweatband will do). Dr. Howard will determine how long the headband may be required.
Swelling and some discoloration are expected about the ears, but this will disappear in two or three weeks. Report any excessive or uneven swelling to the clinic. You will be given oral pain medication to take once you are home.
The patient may shower gently once the head dressings are removed. While in the shower, let the water run gently over the surgical sites located behind both ears and use a mild shampoo such as baby shampoo. You may gently touch these areas with your fingers during this time to soften any crusts on the suture lines. You will also need to clean the suture lines with peroxide and a Q-tip 2-3 times a day. After each cleaning apply antibiotic ointment. You will be instructed on how to do this in the clinic on your first post-operative visit.
Ear pinning surgery is an out-patient surgical procedure. For adults, this procedure is easily performed in the privacy of Dr. Howard’s office. For children, it is performed as an outpatient procedure.
The surgical procedure consists of an incision behind the ears and is closed with a combination of absorbable and removable sutures. A protective head wrap will be placed to protect the ears for approximately 3 to 5 days.
Cold compresses may be used to help alleviate pain and discomfort. Pain medications will be prescribed as well. Patients are asked to sleep elevated for the first week and to not sleep on their sides for the first few weeks following this procedure.Most patients find sleeping with an ace-bandage wrapped over the ears to be beneficial while sleeping.
The Cost for this procedure is currently priced at $3650 for adults (local anesthesia). The cost for this procedure to be performed under general anesthesia (children or adults) at St. Vincent's One Nineteen Outpatient Surgery Center is $4550.00.
Some insurance plans will cover this procedure for children with considerable projection to their ears. The patient must meet the criteria set by their insurance company for a pre-authorization. Dr. Howard prefers not to perform this surgical procedure on children younger than 5 years of age. Dr. Howard only accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance. Please refer to your benefits manual regarding coverage of this procedure.