Pinnaplasty

Pinnaplasty is a surgical operation to correct prominent or sticking out ears. It is sometimes known as an otoplasty.

Pinnaplasty is usually carried out for cosmetic reasons because patients are not happy with the appearance of their ears. Pinnaplasty would not normally be available on the NHS unless the patient is suffering significant psychological stress.

During the operation the surgeon will make a small cut behind each ear allowing some cartilage to be removed or reshaped so that the ears lie closer to the head. If your ears protrude unevenly then this can be corrected at the same time. After the wound is closed with stitches the ears will be bound with a bandage around the head to keep them in place while they heal.

A pinnaplasty is normally carried out under general anaesthetic so you’ll be asleep during the operation. Sometimes it can be performed under a local anaesthetic which numbs the area being operated on; you may also be given a sedative to help you relax. In most cases you’ll be able to go home on the same day as the operation.

We’ll discuss your aftercare and the need for any follow-up appointments with you before you leave hospital. Any pain or discomfort can be relieved with painkillers and, after a few days, you’ll remove the dressings from the operation. For between 1 and 7 days you’ll have to wear a headband over your ears throughout the day and at night.

During the first two to three weeks after the operation you should rest and avoid any strenuous activity. You may not be able to see the full benefits of pinnaplasty until six to eight weeks after surgery.

Most patients recover very quickly after a pinnaplasty. However, some patients can experience numbness and asymmetry (unevenness) of the ears. Also, as with any operation, there may be some risk of:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Infection