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Pinnaplasty (ear re-shaping)

Pinnaplasty (ear re-shaping)

What is pinnaplasty?

Pinnaplasty, also known as otoplasty, is a surgical procedure to re-size, re-shape and/or hold back the ears.

What does surgery involve?

The procedure may be performed under local or general anaesthetic. Your surgeon will advise which anaesthetic is the most appropriate in your case. The procedure usually takes approximately two hours.

Your surgeon will make an incision along the crease-line behind your ear and the cartilage may be re-shaped, folded and excess cartilage removed. The ear is then pinned back along the fold to its new position, sutured and bandaged for support.

How soon will I recover?

The length of time you will need to take off work will depend on the type of work you do, however it is usually a minimum of one week.  Some patients are able to return home shortly after surgery, however you may be required to stay in hospital overnight.

To support the wound following surgery you will wear a head bandage for 5-7 days (your surgeon will advise). The sutures used are normally dissolvable. If the sutures used are not dissolvable an appointment will be made to remove them.

After the bandages have been removed you can resume washing your hair as normal, however it is important to take care and avoid hitting or knocking the ear/s.

A headband, or head bandage, should be worn each night for a further two weeks to protect the ear/s from damage whilst sleeping.

It is normal for the ear/s to be bruised, swollen and red for up to six weeks. Discomfort is usually controlled with painkillers.

You must avoid strenuous exercise, heavy lifting and swimming for approximately six weeks after surgery.

What are the risks involved?

Pinnaplasty is commonly performed and is generally a safe operation. Nonetheless, all surgery and anaesthetic have some risk associated. Risks to all surgeries include infection, excessive bleeding, adverse reaction to anaesthetic or blood clotting.


It is possible for a blood clot to develop in the ear after surgery.  The clot may dissolve naturally, however drops may be required to soften it or, alternatively, it may be drawn out with a needle.  Very rarely, a loss of skin near the operated area may occur.  A skin graft may be needed to repair the skin.

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