Otoplasty, commonly known as ear pinning, is performed to reduce overly prominent ears. Richmond area facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Matthew Bridges M.D. FACS, helps patients as young as 4-6 years old by surgically modifying ears that are over-sized, stick out, or have developed in an abnormal shape. While the typical otoplasty patient is a young child, otoplasty can be performed at any age. For adults, the surgery can be performed under local anesthesia in the clinic.
"I LOVE what the microneedling has done for my skin - the tone and texture is unbelievable. Thanks for introducing me to Circadia, too - Love all the products you recommended. Amazing......."- LC / Office Visit / Mar 19, 2014
"Extremely happy with the outcome of my nose surgery. I had sleep apnea....I was a true mouth breather. My nasal passages were thin slits! Dr Bridges gave me new cartilage and removed what I didn't need inside my nose. Nothing short of a miracle for me!"- D.B. / Google / Jan 28, 2021
"Dr. Bridges helped fix my highly deviated septum from multiple nose injuries and at the same time helped sculpt my nose into something more appropriate for my features. I recommend him to everyone I know looking at getting nasal surgery done. I've had several friends who have seen him through my recommendation and have also had wonderful results that they are extremely happy with. He's a a fantastic doctor and I'd go as far to say an artist in his craft!"- P. / Healthgrades / Jun 22, 2020
"Gave Me the Nose That Was Meant for my Face. - I went to Dr Bridges for help with a severely deviated septum as well as in the hopes of altering my nose for aesthetic preferences. I sobbed when I took the bandages off, his work is absolutely stunning. He turned the thing I was most self-conscious about to my favorite part of my body. He gave me medication that made my recovery SO easy, I did not bruise at all despite him having to break my nose in order to fix previous breaks. I can breathe SO easy now and my profile looks like what it was always supposed to."- K. / RealSelf / Jun 22, 2020
"I had 2 previous rhinoplasties with a different surgeon. Dr. Matt Bridges fixed the problems from the previous surgeries and gave me EXACTLY the nose I wanted."- C.R. / Google / Feb 02, 2020
The technique used during otoplasty will depend on the abnormality. The incision is generally placed along the natural crease behind the ear, which is nearly invisible after healing. The most common issue with protruding ears is the under-formation of the antihelical fold. This is the main fold of the upper part of the ear. The surgical goal can be simulated by folding this part of the ear back. The fold is typically created or enhanced surgically be placing permanent sutures that pull the cartilage together across the fold. Further stitches can be placed to bring the entire ear closer to the head as well. Great care is taken to make the two sides as symmetric as possible.
Otoplasties in children are performed in the operating room under general anesthesia. Adults can have the procedure under local anesthesia in the office. The entire surgery typically takes about 2 hours to complete and is done as an outpatient. After surgery, patients will be sent home with their heads wrapped in a bandage, which will be removed and replaced the next day in the office. A removable headband is worn around the clock as much as possible for the next week, then at night only for several more weeks. Younger patients will need to be monitored so they do not touch or play with their ears during the healing process.
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Ear Surgery FAQs
The results following an otoplasty procedure are long lasting. However, just like any other cosmetic procedure, aging and gravity may cause increased laxity. This could eventually affect the position of the ears. For the most part, the improvements made with this surgery are considered permanent.
Children between the ages of 4-6 are considered within the ideal range for this surgery. From an anatomical standpoint, believe it or not, the ears have reached nearly adult size around this age. From a psychological standpoint, having this surgery before starting elementary school can help avoid teasing and ridicule from classmates. Some studies have shown that performing this surgery younger than age 6 can still result in excellent results.
Both Ear or Just One?
In the majority of cases, both ears are affected. Therefore, surgery is performed on both ears. However, sometimes only one ear is prominent and asymmetric to the other side. If this is the case, surgery will be performed on the affected ear, which will be made to match the opposing ear.