3 Signs You Could Benefit from an Ear Pinning Procedure

Cosmetic ear surgery, also known as otoplasty, is a common procedure to reshape ears. While procedures include reshaping the cartilage surrounding the ear or reducing or correcting large or stretched earlobes, the most common otoplasty procedure is the “pinning” of the ears.

Pinning ears refers to the process of setting back ears that stick out further from the head than the patient would like. Protruding ears may occur in one or both ears. The procedure will reshape or “pin” the ears back towards the head for a more aesthetic and proportioned look. In fact, ears are not “pinned” back to the head. The surgeon reshapes the cartilage of the ear and pulls it in closer to the head. Sutures are used to keep the ear in its newly shaped position while the incision heals.

Consider these three signs you could benefit from an ear pinning or otoplasty procedure.

Ears are disproportioned

If one ear is larger than the other, or one ear sticks out more than the other, you could probably benefit from otoplasty. In these cases, surgery may only be needed on one ear. This should be discussed in the initial surgical consultation with your plastic surgeon. Here you can go over photographs and discuss options and outcomes of ear surgery.

Insecurity about protruding ears

If you’ve ever felt insecure about your ears sticking out too far from your head, you could probably benefit from ear “pinning.” Protruding ears are often a source of ridicule, particularly in young children. Otoplasty can increase confidence in your overall appearance, but should be done for yourself. You should never consider surgery to meet someone else’s idea of how you should look.

Children with protruding ears

Speaking of children, otoplasty is safe for children, beginning around the age of five. At this point, the child’s ear cartilage is stable enough for surgical correction. Additionally, by this age, ears are nearly fully grown and additional surgery should not be needed later on. As long as the child is emotionally ready and understands the end result of the surgical procedure, otoplasty is a viable option. Fixing ears that stick out on a child will often do wonders for their self-esteem and reduce or eliminate any teasing from other children.

The procedure

Generally, ear surgery takes under two hours and can be done under local anesthesia. However, full sedation is an option you can discuss with your doctor. The incision is often done at the back of the ear, often within the folds of the ear, making any scarring barely visible. The cartilage is then reshaped, with excess cartilage removed.  Internal sutures may be used to keep the cartilage in place, while external stitches close the incision spot.


Recovery is minimal in otoplasty and results are nearly immediate. You will need to have someone drive you home from the surgery. You may experience some discomfort which can be alleviated with pain medication, upon your doctor’s specifications. Fortunately, there is little risk associated with you ear surgery, but you should still discuss potential risks with your doctor.

Do you have further questions regarding otoplasty? Contact our office for a consultation to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. Also, be sure to view our Before and After gallery.