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
"Matt Bridges is an excellent surgeon with the best bed-side manner. My daughter fractured her nose and wrecked her septum. He explained every bit of the process and made us so comfortable especially since she never had surgery! Her nose looks amazing and she is able to breathe, sleep and smell again. He is the absolute best there is!"- A.A. / Google / Oct 15, 2019
"Dr. Bridges performed surgery on my nose after having MOH'S Surgery for two basal carcinomas, one on each side of my nose. This was a new experience for him he stated. He had never seen this situation before. He performed plastic surgery on both areas at the same time. Obviously his expertise came through because the results were excellent and I am very pleased with the results. I would highly recommend him as a plastic surgeon, he is very thorough in explain in layman's terms the procedures."- H.L. / Healthgrades / Sep 04, 2019
"Spectacular results. This is the guy to use, period."- R.C. / Google / Aug 12, 2019
"Dr Bridges is wonderful, so relatable and made me feel comfortable from the start. Thorough assessment that led to a wonderful result. Was sent to him for my deviated septum and insurance ended up covering it was so bad. He was in surgery for a good while, but dang does it look good. Thanks so much Dr Bridges!"- J.H. / Google / Jul 17, 2019
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.