Ear “Pinning” (Otoplasty)

Otoplasty is commonly referred to as “ear pinning”. This surgery changes the shape of the cartilage of the ears so that the ears are less prominent. Ears are quite variable in shape and size but rarely attract attention. However oversized, distorted or protruding ears can distract from facial appearance. Children in particular are susceptible to this problem and are often teased and called “Dumbo” or other derogatory terms. An incision is made behind the ear and the cartilages are repositioned with incisions and suturing or are removed.

There are 2 major cause of ear prominence:

  • Absence of the antihelical fold
  • The ear may be lacking a fold in the upper third. This natural fold is called the antihelix.
  • Sutures are placed in the ear cartilage behind the ear to recreate the fold.
  • Excess conchal cartilage.
    • The ear may have a prominent enlarged cup (around the external ear opening). This cup is called the concha.
      • An incision is made and skin is removed behind the ear in the hidden crease adjacent to the bone
      • The excess cartilage is remove or folded

Ear surgery is commonly performed during childhood. The surgery can easily be performed with local anesthesia, but with children under 7 years of age a general anesthetic may be required.