What is Ear Pinning?
Ear Pinning (or otoplasty) is a cosmetic surgery in which the ears are folded closer to the head. While there are many techniques that can be employed to achieve one’s anatomical goals, this article will focus on surgical ear pinning recovery.
How Is Otoplasty Performed?
Ear Pinning surgery is performed with the patient awake. The surgery is performed after a shot of local anesthetic is performed to each ear. After the injection, a surgical incision is made in the crease behind the ear. A small amount of skin and tissue is removed in order to make room for the ear to be repositioned. Various permanent sutures are then used to pull the central portion of the ear closer to the skull. In addition, internal sutures can be used to pinch a portion of the ear known as the antihelix. The incision is then closed with another suture and the procedure is repeated on the other side.
What Does Ear Pinning Feel Like?
There is no medical reason to be fully put to sleep for an ear pinning. Typically, surgeon inexperience is the most common reason. That being said, doing the surgery awake can be a strange experience. The patient will not feel anything other than warmth. As the procedure needs to be sterile, the patient’s eyes will be covered. The strangest part is you will certainly hear the entire procedure. During the procedure, you should not feel any pain. Ear pinning typically takes 45 minutes in total.
Does Ear Pinning Hurt?
Patients are advised to take a pain pill at the completion of the procedure. While it will be a few hours before the numbing wears off, it is wise to have some opioid-level pain medication in your system during that time. The average patient takes less than 12 pain pills throughout recovery. They will certainly be needed about every 4 hours the first day and then intermittently on days 2 and 3. The pain will be worst at night when it is hard to sleep on the side. Though a headband is required the first week, a donut pillow can help throughout the healing process.
Ear Pinning Swelling
Ear Pinning recovery comes with quite a bit of swelling. It is entirely normal for both ears (the side that was done first will likely be worse) to be swollen. They will likely appear slightly bruised also. If the swelling is severe enough, it is recommended to use some gauze or cotton coated in ointment over the ears before placing the headband. Severe swelling can lead to blister formation and this should be reported to your doctor. Your ears will likely also be over pinned and this is intentional as the ears will slowly come out as you heal. Your swelling will get significantly better around day 10.
Otoplasty Scar and Otoplasty Incision Care
Ear pinning recovery means you will have to take care of an incision that is difficult to see. The incision for ear pinning will need to be cleaned and sterilized. It is ok to get water on it in the shower. Initially, you can use peroxide to clean any dried blood or debris and also use an antibiotic ointment in the crease to help the healing process. In the long term, the incision will heal to near invisibility.
Ear Pinning Results
Otoplasty is a prolonged healing process. Ear pinning recovery means your ears will be slightly numb and sensitive for 2-3 months. The final results are visible around the 6-month mark; however, remember that the purpose of the surgery isn’t to improve the appearance of ears (all ears are ugly) but rather to make the patient not think about them (in a good way or bad) and this will take almost a year! Check out ear pinning before and after photos here. Always remember to consult your surgeon for specific medical advice.