Otoplasty, also known as ear pinning or ear setback, is a plastic surgery procedure which can improve the appearance of protruding or large ears. During the procedure, the skin and cartilage behind the ears are reshaped, and the size and shape of the ears can be altered as well. Candidates for otoplasty include healthy patients over the age of five who have protruding ears.
Dr. Kulak performs otoplasty at one of the INOVA system hospitals, which include Fair Oaks Hospital, Reston Surgical Center, Suburban Outpatient Surgical Center in Bethesda. The procedure takes one to two hours to complete and can be performed with local anesthesia or MAC (monitored anesthesia care) or general anesthesia. Hidden incisions which are located behind the ears are used for the procedure.
The Otoplasty Procedure
Once the incisions are made, sutures may be used to create anti-helical folds which is often underdeveloped in protruding ears. Additionally, Dr. Kulak will shave the enlarge “bowl” cartilage to reduce its size and use sutures to set back the ears to the desired angle from the head.
Recovery after otoplasty generally takes seven to ten days. Patients may experience some discomfort as the ears may throb or ache for the first few days, though pain medication can easily control this discomfort. Swelling, redness and numbness may occur. Soft dressings applied after surgery are removed after one to two days and will be replaced with a sports headband which is worn for up to one week during the day and two to three weeks at bedtime. Stitches dissolve in about seven to ten days. Most patients are able to return to work or school within a week, though more strenuous activities and contact sports will need to be postponed for longer.
Frequently asked questions about Otoplasty
Q – What is otoplasty?
Otoplasty, also known as ear setback or ear pinning, is a plastic surgery procedure designed to improve the appearance of protruding ears. The procedure can also change the size and shape of the ears.
Q – Is otoplasty right for me?
If you are healthy and looking to improve the appearance of protruding ears, otoplasty may be right for you. The procedure can be performed on patients over the age of five.
Q – At what age can otoplasty be performed?
Dr. Kulak performs otoplasty on patients over the age of five before the child has started school to avoid teasing and embarrassment.
Q – What does a consultation for otoplasty entail?
During a consultation for otoplasty, Dr. Kulak will examine your ears, take a thorough medical history, and discuss your goals. All aspects of the otoplasty surgery will be explained including the technique, the anesthesia, the facility, the recovery, the risks, the costs and so on.
Q – Where is otoplasty performed?
Dr. Kulak performs otoplasty at INOVA system hospitals, including Fair Oaks Hospital and Surgical Center, Reston Surgical Center, Surburban Outpatient Surgical Center.
Q – What type of anesthesia is used for otoplasty?
Local anesthesia or MAC (monitored anesthesia care) may be used for otoplasty although general anesthesia may be safer for children.