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Pinnaplasty (adult)

3-minute read

This page will give you information about an otoplasty. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

You can also download and print a PDF version of this factsheet, with space for your own questions or notes.

What is an otoplasty?

An otoplasty (or pinnaplasty) is an operation to improve the appearance of your ears.

Is an otoplasty suitable for me?

You are most likely to benefit from an otoplasty if you are self-conscious about your ears, you are being teased or if you have unusually-shaped ears.

What are the benefits of surgery?

Your ears should have a better shape.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

Illustration of a pinnaplasty.
a An ear sticking out with unusual folds
b An ear closer to the head with more normal folds

For adults, surgery is the only option to change the shape of your ears.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is usually performed under a local anaesthetic. The operation usually takes about an hour.

Your surgeon will make a cut at the back of your ear and peel off some skin from the cartilage. They will change the shape of the cartilage so your ear lies closer to your head. Your surgeon may need to use stitches to hold your ear in position and to create folds.

Your surgeon may also make a cut at the front of your ear and peel back your skin so they can lightly score the cartilage. This technique tends to make the cartilage bend towards the head.

Your surgeon will place a dressing on your head to give your ears support.

What complications can happen?

General complications

  • pain
  • bleeding
  • infection
  • unsightly scarring

Specific complications

  • cosmetic problems

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day or the day after. For a few weeks, while the swelling and bruising settles, rest and do not do strenuous exercise.

You can return to work after the head dressing has been removed.

Do not play sports for 6 weeks.

The results of an otoplasty are usually permanent.

Summary

An otoplasty is an operation to improve the appearance of your ears. The operation should be performed only if the aim is to improve your self-confidence and to make you more comfortable with your appearance. You should consider the options carefully and have realistic expectations about the results.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION
The operation and treatment information on this page is published under license by Healthdirect Australia from EIDO Healthcare Australia and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

For more on how this information was prepared, click here.

Last reviewed: September 2018

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