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Otoplasty (Ear Pinning)

Many people are dissatisfied with their ears, whether they are asymmetrical, misshapen, or simply stick out too far. Because ears play a huge role in balancing your face, even slight adjustments can have a significant impact on your appearance. Dr. Sean Weiss performs minimally invasive ear surgery, or otoplasty, to safely correct cosmetic issues and achieve normal proportions.

Dr. Weiss is one of the few surgeons in the world who is board certified through both the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology. He focuses exclusively on face, head, and neck surgery, using his specialized knowledge to offer patients the results they desire.

If you are considering ear surgery for yourself or your child, call 504-636-8409 to schedule a consultation with skilled New Orleans facial plastic surgeon Dr. Weiss. Our practice serves Metairie, New Orleans, Mandeville, and the surrounding areas of Louisiana.

What is Otoplasty?

Woman after ear surgery in New OrleansOtoplasty is a relatively minor cosmetic surgery done to alter the position, size, and shape of the ears. It involves straightforward techniques to address excess cartilage and skin and reposition the ear structure. Otoplasty can treat congenital defects or changes caused by trauma.

Ear surgery is most commonly performed to correct overly large ears, a condition known as macrotia. Many adults and children with this condition report being subject to excessive teasing or experiencing self-esteem issues. After the procedure, the ears are smaller and lie closer to the side of the head.

Other motivations for undergoing otoplasty include a desire to correct:

  • Protruding ears
  • Lop ear deformity, where the top outer cartilage folds down over the ear
  • “Cauliflower” ears due to injury

Candidates for Ear Surgery

Ear surgery can be performed on children and adults. The primary consideration when discussing candidacy for otoplasty is ear development.

Ears must be fully grown before proceeding with surgery, and this typically occurs between the ages of 5 or 6 years old. Because it is easier to shape the cartilage of younger patients, Dr. Weiss recommends moving forward with the procedure sooner rather than later. However, adults can still achieve excellent results from ear surgery.

Parents considering the procedure for their children should know that the advantages are not purely cosmetic. Studies have shown that children who have undergone corrective ear surgery tend to experience an improvement in anxiety, behavioral issues, depression, and their ability to adapt to their school environment. Results are permanent, meaning this simple surgery performed now will benefit your child long into their adult life.

Will There Be Any Visible Scarring From Ear Pinning Surgery?

Patients appreciate the fact that otoplasty leaves thin and well-concealed scars. The incisions are usually hidden behind the ears or within folds of cartilage.

It is difficult to notice ear surgery scars in day-to-day life. The skin usually heals so well that it looks normal even when the ear is pulled forward. You can help facilitate the healing process with good pre- and post-operative care.

How Long Does Ear Pinning Surgery Take?

Ear pinning is a quick surgery that typically takes two to three hours. Of course, the exact timing depends on the complexity of each case.

Some patients need just a few stitches to hold the upper part of their ears closer to their head. Others may benefit from more involved shaping techniques to give their ears a more desirable form and better proportions. Dr. Weiss will explain how long your ear pinning procedure will take based on your unique concerns and goals.

What Are the Risks of the Otoplasty Procedure?

Otoplasty is a safe and effective way to improve the appearance of your ears. The risks of this procedure are minimal when performed by a qualified facial plastic surgeon. While it is common to experience temporary issues such as bruising and changes in sensation, serious side effects are rare.

Ear surgery has a high satisfaction rate among those who undergo the procedure. However, it is not unheard of for patients to face cosmetic problems with their results. Dr. Weiss has the experience needed to create beautiful outcomes while avoiding issues such as asymmetry and overcorrection.

Is Otoplasty a Painful Procedure?

Otoplasty is very tolerable when performed under local anesthesia. Local anesthesia is used to numb the ear before surgery and is highly effective at blocking pain. Some surgeons choose to offer mild sedatives in conjunction with local anesthesia to help patients feel more relaxed.

Occasionally, otoplasty is done with general anesthesia instead. If that is the case in your situation, then you will not be awake for the procedure.

Most of the discomfort associated with ear surgery happens during the healing phase. Your ears may be tender after the procedure. It is normal to experience itching and throbbing that can be controlled with oral pain medications. However, compared to most other cosmetic surgeries, the recovery is much less demanding and uncomfortable.

Patient Testimonial

“Dr. Weiss has the most in-depth understanding of the face combined with precise and fastidious surgical skills. I highly recommend him to anyone considering facial surgery of any kind. He should be a lot more expensive than he is!!” -S.J

The Otoplasty Procedure

Otoplasty is a relatively simple, minimally invasive procedure. Since it is an individualized surgery, the steps and techniques may vary slightly depending on your anatomy and desired outcome. The process is generally done under local anesthesia for your comfort.

Dr. Weiss will start by making an incision in an inconspicuous spot, either inside or behind the ears. Then, he can remove excess cartilage or tissue. If your ears lack natural folds, he may work to recreate them. Dr. Weiss will finish the surgery by reshaping the ears before anchoring them with small stitches to support proper healing.

Otoplasty Recovery

One of the benefits of otoplasty surgery is that it has a quick recovery time. Most adults can return to work within a few days, while children typically require one week off from school.

Some patients may experience some bruising and discomfort that can be managed with over-the-counter pain medicine. If you sleep on your side, you will need to try to sleep on your back in the days following surgery to eliminate pressure on your ears.

Is Otoplasty Covered By Insurance?

If otoplasty is being used to address a congenital abnormality, an insurance carrier may provide coverage. Talk to your insurance carrier to understand what your company will and will not cover.

In most cases, otoplasty is an elective surgery that is not covered by insurance. It is typically done for cosmetic purposes and is rarely deemed to be medically necessary. Our staff is happy to discuss your surgical fees and payment options in greater detail.

Schedule Your New Orleans Otoplasty Consultation

Otoplasty can be a life-changing procedure for those who feel self-conscious about their ears. Learn more about ear surgery and receive individualized recommendations by scheduling a consultation at 504-636-8409. Dr. Weiss serves patients from Metairie, New Orleans, Mandeville, and the surrounding areas of Louisiana.