A procedure known as otoplasty, pinnaplasty, or ear pinning, it is used to correct the shape, position and/or size of any part of the outer ear. It is the form of cosmetic surgery that is most often used by children.
The human ear is fully developed when a child is 4 years old and surgery is possible at any age but the consensus is the sooner the better. Adults also use otoplasty if it has not been done in childhood.
WHAT TO EXPECT
This procedure is usually carried out using a local anaesthetic but small children may be given a general anaesthetic. Usually, an ear pinning takes around two hours to complete and the patient may return home immediately following surgery.
Some cartilage and skin is removed from behind the ear and the ear is stitched back into the desired position. These stitches are very small and hidden by the ear. A dressing is placed on the ear to keep it in shape. The dressing must not be interfered with and must be kept dry, so no hair washing! The bandage is removed 5 to 6 days later.
The procedure can save a lot of anguish and teasing for children. Adults who may have used their hair to disguise their ears for many years can now wear their hair any way they like. It is a very well established procedure that is both inexpensive and relatively easy to perform.
It is always difficult to bring a child for any medical procedure and they may fidget during the procedure. A general anaesthetic carries with it risks.