Ear Pinning (Otoplasty)

Pediatric ear pinning, also known as otoplasty, is a procedure designed to improve the appearance of prominent ears in children—often as a way to combat or prevent teasing or bullying in school and help the child develop healthy self-esteem.

During surgery, Dr. Aboutanos adjusts skin and cartilage to form a smaller, more normal looking ear that sits close to the head.

How old does my child have to be to have ear surgery?

Typically, we recommend waiting until your child is at least 5 years old. This can be an ideal age, as they will be able understand a little bit more about what is happening to them—and we can help correct the appearance of their ears before they begin school.

That being said, Dr. Aboutanos has helped a large number of patients ranging in age to feel more comfortable and confident with the size and protrusion of their ears. The “right” time for the procedure can only be determined by you and your family.

We encourage you to read Dr. Aboutanos’ tips for preparing your child for pediatric plastic surgery to help make the process less scary for your little one.

How long will the procedure take?

Ear pinning typically takes around two hours. It is an outpatient procedure that is performed under general anesthesia, so your child will be able to return home the same day after a brief stint in the recovery room.

You will be able to visit with your child immediately before and after surgery, and we will make sure to keep you updated throughout the procedure.

Where will the incisions be?

While this can vary depending on how prominent or large your child’s ears are, Dr. Aboutanos is careful to place incisions along the back of the ear in natural folds. Once they are healed, the resulting scars will not be easily visible.

What will recovery be like?

For the first night after surgery, your child may seem a little “loopy” as the anesthesia wears off. They’ll likely be tired and disinterested in doing much. Soreness of the ear, especially around the incisions, is normal for the first few days, and we will prescribe pain medication as needed to keep them comfortable.

While your child will need to avoid any strenuous activity, sports, and rambunctious play, they should be up and around and starting to feel more normal relatively soon after surgery day.

Over the next two weeks or so, the incisions will continue to heal and any residual bruising and swelling will go down. The head wrap your child came home in will be removed in the office a day or two after surgery, and we will provide you with instructions on how to care for the incisions