Cosmetic Surgery Tips

is ear pinning worth it

People who have had their ears pinned generally feel that it gives them self confidence, and enables them to feel better about how they look. Many people find that it is worthwhile, as they are able to pin back their own ears after a couple of months of wearing them. However, some other people feel that the risks and problems associated with ear pinning outweigh the benefits.

You may find it hard to access the right information on the internet, so we are here to help you in the following article, providing the best and updated information on is ear pinning worth it, Fixing ears that stick out. Read on to learn more. We at cosmeticsurgerytips have all the information that you need about What can I expect after ear pinning surgery?. Read on to learn more.

is ear pinning worth it

a surgeon preparing to do a otoplasty
A person may undergo an otoplasty to correct an outer ear irregularity.

The ears are usually around 2 centimetersTrusted Source from the side of the head. However, having ears more prominent than this can be bothersome.

A person who has sustained damage to their ears or was born with a congenital anomaly may choose to undergo reconstructive surgery. This is a medical procedure to build up or repair the outer ear.

However, some people choose to undergo surgery to improve the appearance of the ears. This is known as otoplasty.

In 2018, surgeons carried out nearly 23,000 otoplasty procedures in the United States, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

In this article, learn more about otoplasty, including what to expect and recovery time.

Why have an otoplasty?

The outer ear has a minor function in hearing. However, it also contributes to a person’s appearance.

Some people may feel that their ears are “too” prominent, and this can cause embarrassment and psychological distress. In fact, some researchTrusted Source shows that having prominent ears can lead to low self-esteem, isolation, and a lack of confidence.

For this reason, some people opt for surgery. Some parents and caregivers may even seek surgery for their children before they start school.

Is treatment always necessary?

Treatment is not always necessary. Some irregularities will resolve without intervention.

A suitable time to have an otoplasty is when a child is 5–6 years old and 90%Trusted Source of their ears’ growth is complete. This is the earliest recommended age. However, a person can undergo treatment at any age after this.

A nonsurgical technique known as ear molding or splinting can be effective if the child starts receiving treatment in the first 2–3 weeks of life.

What causes prominent ears?

The outer ear is usually at an angle of about 21–30 degreesTrusted Source to the side of the head. If the angle is more than 30 degrees, the ears will appear to “stick out.”

This can happen if genetic features or health conditions affect cartilage growth, or if an injury affects the shape of the ears. Any of these factors can affect one or both ears. However, having prominent ears should not affect a person’s hearing. Prominent ears may run in families, but they often occur randomly. Around 30% of children with prominent ears have ears that appear normal at birth but then start to change shape in the first 3 months of life.

Research suggests that prominent ears affect around 5% Trusted Sourceof Caucasian people.

What to expect during treatment

Various techniques can reduce the prominence of the ears. The sections below will cover these in more detail.

Ear molding or splinting

This is a safe, simple procedure that is suitable for infants within the first few weeks of life. This is when the cartilage in the ears is at its softest. By the time the infant is 6–7 weeks old, the cartilage begins to stiffen.

During this procedure, the surgeon will use a splint to reshape the soft cartilage. The splint supports the ear and keeps it in the new position.

Different types of splintTrusted Source are available. They are made of soft, elastic, moldable material.

The surgeon will fit the splint to the ear with surgical tape. Parents and caregivers should leave the splint in place 24 hours per day and take the child to the doctor for regular checkups. The infant may need to wear the splint for a few weeks to a few months.

After 6 months, the cartilage in the ear will become too hard for remodeling with splints. After this point, surgery will be the only treatment option.


A plastic surgeon will usually carry out an otoplasty. Sometimes, however, an ear, nose, and throat surgeon or a pediatric surgeon will do it.

The surgeon will use a general anesthetic for a child and a local anesthetic for an adult. They will then make an incision behind the earTrusted Source and apply stitches, which may be permanent, to hold back the outer ear. In some cases, they may remove some cartilage.

The procedure will take around 1–2 hours.

The incision will leave a thin scar, but this is behind the ear, and it will fade over time.

Incisionless surgery

Some types of surgery do not need an incision. For these, the recovery time may be fasterTrusted Source, with a lower risk of complications.

During this procedure, the surgeon will place a needle into the cartilage to increase its flexibility. Then, they will use stitches to reshape or fix the ear.

In a study of a modified version of this technique, almost 94%Trusted Source of people said that the appearance of their ears improved. However, more research may be necessary to confirm its safety and effectiveness.

Also, this type of procedure may not be suitable for everyone. For example, if a person’s prominent ears are due to excess cartilage in the concha of the ear, they would need a formal otoplasty. This is because the surgeon needs to cut some of the cartilage out through a skin incision.

Fixing ears that stick out

If you suffer from protruding ears, there is an array of options available to correct their position. These range from temporary non-surgical methods such as ear clips and tape, to otoplasty surgery, also known as ear pinning or pinnaplasty.

You may choose to have otoplasty if you’re bothered by how far your ears stick out from your head. Below we offer an overview of the most common available methods to correct the position of your ears.

Also known as ‘pinnaplasty’, otoplasty is a surgical procedure undertaken to permanently reshape the outer ear, or ‘pinna’ and achieve your desired appearance. 

This method of ‘fixing’ ears that stick out is purely cosmetic and should not be confused with reconstructive surgery used to build up the ear following damage, or a congenital anomaly/ear deformity. Otoplasty surgery does not affect the inner part of the ear that is used for hearing and is often referred to as ‘ear pinning’. 


Otoplasty usually aims to reduce the size of the ears (ear reduction surgery), reshape the ears (ear reshaping surgery), or reset protruding ears so that they sit closer to the head (prominent ear correction surgery). It’s performed under local anaesthetic, or general anaesthetic (depending on the recipient’s age) and usually takes between one and three hours. The time taken will depend on whether the ears are being reduced, pinned back, or both. 

During the procedure, your surgeon will make an incision behind the ear, remove some of the skin and reshape the cartilage as necessary to achieve your desired result. The ears are then stitched into the new position and you may be asked to wear a headband to protect the ears while they heal. It’s important to follow your surgeon’s aftercare advice carefully. 


Depending on their profession, most adults should be able to return to work about a week after surgery. Recovery time from otoplasty surgery is at least six weeks and any activities that could cause trauma to the ears should be avoided. Any resulting scars from your surgery will be hidden by the fold of the ear. 

As with any cosmetic procedure, it’s essential to only approach qualified, experienced, and regulated plastic surgeons.


Otoplasty surgery risks include complications with scar healing and potential asymmetry. However, a reputable and experienced surgeon will work with you to discuss realistic expectations. Again, the procedure carries the same risks as all operations—including a potential allergic reaction to anaesthetic, as well as infection and blood clots. 

What can I expect after ear pinning surgery?

Knowing what to expect can help make your road to recovery after ear pinning surgery as smooth as possible. 

How long will it take to recover?

Most people stay in the surgeon’s office, surgical center, or hospital for a few hours after ear pinning surgery. You will stay in the recovery room after surgery until you are alert, breathing effectively, and your vital signs are stable. You may have a sore throat if a tube was placed in your windpipe during surgery. This is usually temporary, but tell your care team if you are uncomfortable.

You will be drowsy and may be nauseous from sedation or anesthesia. You will need a friend or family member to drive you home and stay with you the first 24 hours.

You will have bandages wrapped around your head to protect the incisions and support your ears while they heal. Bandages usually remain in place for a few days after surgery. After your provider removes the bandages, you may need to wear a headband, especially when you sleep, for two weeks or more. The headband supports your ears as they heal.

Recovery after surgery is a gradual process. Recovery time varies depending on the procedure, your general health, your age, and other factors. It may take two weeks or more to return to normal activities and for your wounds to heal. You should avoid contact sports for at least a month after ear pinning surgery.

Will I feel pain?

Pain control is important for healing and a smooth recovery. You will have discomfort after your surgery, and your ears may itch under the bandages. It is important that you do not scratch your ears or remove the bandages. 

Your doctor and care team will treat your pain and itching so you are comfortable and can get the rest you need. Call your doctor if your pain gets worse or changes in any way because it may be a sign of a complication.

When should I call my doctor?

It is important to keep your follow-up appointments after ear pinning surgery.  Contact your doctor for questions and concerns between appointments. Call your doctor right away or seek immediate medical care if you have:

  • Bleeding
  • Breathing problems, such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, labored breathing, or wheezing
  • Change in alertness, such as passing out, unresponsiveness, or confusion
  • Chest painchest tightnesschest pressure, or palpitations
  • Fever. A low-grade fever (lower than 101 degrees Fahrenheit) is common for a couple of days after surgery. It is not necessarily a sign of a surgical infection. However, you should follow your doctor’s specific instructions about when to call for a fever.
  • Inability to urinate or have a bowel movement
  • Leg pain, redness or swelling, especially in the calf, which may indicate a blood clot
  • Pain that is not controlled by your pain medication
  • Unexpected drainage, pus, redness or swelling of your incision

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