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.
"Now six months post-op, and absolutely thrilled with my result - I spent early a year researching before deciding on Dr. Bridges for my rhinoplasty, so I wanted to pay it forward and share my experience to help others who are searching for the perfect surgeon. I had my closed rhinoplasty done with Dr. Bridges over 6 months ago and I am absolutely in love with my new nose.After my first consultation with Dr. Bridges, I knew he was the right surgeon and scheduled my nose job days later. His work as an ENT put me at ease, because he not only has an eye for aesthetics, but he regularly fixes and restores breathing problems in his patients. I also was drawn to the fact that he exclusively performs closed (scarless) rhinoplasties, because it causes less trauma to the tissues in the nose. He took time to listen to me and understand what bothered me about my nose, and gave me exactly what I wished for- a nose that is feminine, refined, and still looks like I was born with it. Despite performing an osteotomy (breaking the nasal bones) and filing down the hump in my nose, most of my bruising subsided within 4 days of my operation. I have a very low pain tolerance, and I was surprised that the recovery was as easy as it was. A few Tylenol for the first few days was enough to manage the discomfort, and the worst part was just the stuffiness and inability to breathe through my nose. I am now six months post-op, and absolutely thrilled with my result! Dr. Bridges created a nose that perfectly fits the rest of my features, while maintaining a look that is so natural, no one would ever know that I've had work done. The nose he gave me is the nose that I truly feel like I was meant to have all along. I would chose Dr. Bridges a thousand times again, he is a true artist and incredibly caring, talented, and skilled. Thank you for everything, Dr. Bridges!"- E. / RealSelf / Jul 04, 2022
"Look no further- the BEST!"- A.B. / Google / Jun 28, 2022
"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
"Getting rhinoplasty to correct my larger nose has been a lifelong dream of mine, but the idea of doing it has always been scary/intimidating. Dr. Bridges and his team made this the best possible experience I could have had. From the quickness of the scheduling, his listening and understanding of my goals, to the smoothness of the procedure and recovery - everything was better than I imagined. The result was awesome- subtle and natural looking while still accomplishing what I wanted. I would recommend him to anyone considering taking this step."- D.D. / Google / Sep 12, 2023
"I’m blown away, pun intended. From the moment Dr. Shaia recommended Bridges, I have felt that my level of care was akin to what the president receives. The expertise and confidence that Dr. Bridges possesses is unmatched in my opinion. I did zero research on my procedures until post-op. What an amazingly barbaric and frightening process. Hammers and chisels and scalpels and forceps oh my! His staff couldn’t be more helpful and compassionate. From the scheduling to the post op appointment, this crew is stellar and top notch. Bravo! I do hope I never have to see them again, but, if I do, I definitely will. Thank you Dr. Bridges!!"- L.R. / Google / Aug 03, 2023
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.
Plan Your Procedure
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.