Otoplasty: Natural Shape to the Prominent Ear

Over projecting or prominent ears are significant congenital ear deformities that are a source of teasing and social embarrassment for a young child. The prominent ear can be present at birth and can be molded at a very early age (younger than 6 weeks) with a simple soft hat or headband. After this time, the external ear develops over the first three years and after that the ear prominence can be fully evaluated. There can be multiple components to the prominent ear, including

  • effacement of the upper fold of the ear
  • enlargement of the conchal bowl
  • combination of the two

Prominence can be mistaken for cupping or constriction of the ear, which may require a different operation for correction. In order to correct the prominent ear, the cause of the prominence should be identified and usually 2 out of the 4 causes should be addressed in order to give a natural and long lasting correction.

The otoplasty operation can be performed at earliest at the 5th year of age, in between kindergarten and the first grade, but can be performed at any point after this age. Adults seeking otoplasty or ear pinning, can have this done under local anesthesia; however children usually require general anesthesia to alleviate anxiety of the operation.

The otoplasty operation usually takes under two hours and is an outpatient operation/procedure. The ear prominence is corrected through an incision in the back of the ear, which enable folding, suturing and reducing the ear prominence. The sutures are internal and usually a simple headband dressing is all that is needed. This is removed in one week and then I ask my patients to sleep in an athletic head-band for 3 weeks. School can be resumed in one week and athletics in 3 weeks after an otoplasty procedure. Scarring is usually minimal and the most common risk is partial recurrence of the prominence. An otoplasty consultation with photographs is an important component to proceeding with an otoplasty, or ear pinning, which can be done in Dr. Trussler’s office in Austin, Texas.

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Suite J200
Austin, TX 78746



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