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Can adults have ear pinning surgery?

Can adults have ear pinning surgery?

Otoplasty Charlotte

The external ear is primarily made up of cartilage, which is a flexible but firm type of tissue. The shape of the ear is determined by genetics, which guides the growth of the cartilage to determine the final shape. Once the ears stop growing, their shape will not change.

Some people have ears that are very prominent, meaning that they stick out further from the head. This is caused by the shape of the cartilage of the ear. In some cases, people feel self-conscious about their prominent ears. They may also have trouble finding hats or hoods that fit well, because their ears get in the way.

There is a surgical procedure known as otoplasty, sometimes called “ear pinning surgery,” that can change the shape of the ear. It’s commonly performed in childhood, so some adults with prominent ears wonder whether it’s too late for them to have it. Can an adult have otoplasty? Will it be effective in this age group?

What is otoplasty like?

Although otoplasty is a surgical procedure, it’s generally not necessary for adults to go under general anesthesia during the procedure. Instead, it can be performed using just local anesthesia, with an oral sedative to help relax the patient if desired.

Incisions are made behind the ear, at the point where it joins the head. The surgeon then reshapes the cartilage as needed. In some cases, all that’s needed is to use sutures to pull the cartilage of the ear closer to the head. In other cases, the cartilage itself is reshaped, to bring the ear into the desired position. The incisions are then closed. After healing, the scars are virtually invisible, because they’re hidden behind the ear.

For the first 24 to 48 hours, you’ll need to wear a pressure dressing. This helps to reduce swelling and support the new shape of the ear. Then, for about a week, you’ll need to wear a postsurgical headband, to hold your ears close to your head as they heal. Once you take this off, the effects of the procedure will be immediately apparent, although the swelling may take a few weeks to completely go away.

Does otoplasty work as well in adults as in kids?

It’s common to perform otoplasty in children as soon as the ear has matured. Around the age of five, the ear has reached its final shape and has nearly attained its adult size. At this point, some parents become concerned about their child’s prominent ears, and choose for their child to undergo otoplasty to avoid future issues with their ears. This is why some people believe that ear pinning is a procedure for children.

It’s true that the cartilage of children is more malleable than in adults. This can make otoplasty a bit quicker and easier in children. However, this doesn’t mean that adults won’t get a good result from this procedure. In fact, in some ways, it may be even better. Because adults are able to communicate clearly about what type of ear appearance they’re hoping for, the results can be tailored more specifically to the desires of the patient.

Many of our adult otoplasty patients have spent years feeling self-conscious about their ears. It’s often a huge relief not to worry about this anymore. Some of our patients wish that their parents had been able to get them the procedure when they were children, but it’s never too late to address an issue that’s affecting your day-to-day life. In fact, research has shown that adults who have otoplasty experience significant improvements in social anxiety, body image, and quality of life.

Otoplasty Charlotte

If you’re bothered by excessively prominent ears, you do have an option for addressing this problem. The entire procedure generally takes an hour or two, and the results are permanent. No matter your age, you’re eligible to consider having otoplasty. 

To learn more about the procedure and whether it can achieve the results that you’re looking for, we invite you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Miles. This will give you a chance to ask all of your questions and get personalized advice about what results you can likely expect from otoplasty. To book your appointment, simply contact our front desk.

Dr. Erik J. Miles
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