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Ear Tuck (Otoplasty or Ear Pinning)

Ear tuck is a surgery that corrects anomalies in the shape and projection of the ears. The most frequent anomaly is to find protruded ears; usually some alterations in the shape are also encountered, all of which are corrected in the same procedure.

Incisions are done in the back part of the ear making them almost impossible to see.

Procedure takes between 1 and 2 hours. If the patient is a child, general anesthesia is used; in adults, sedation and local anesthesia is used. Recovery time is between 5 and 7 days.

Surgical Options

Techniques vary among surgeons and patients. Factors that may impact the choice of technique include the general anatomy of the ears, the extent of the ear cartilage, excessive skin in the surrounding area, or level of deformity in other areas of the ears.

There are two common otoplasty techniques:

The surgeon first determines the incision location by finding the most inconspicuous site on the back of the ear. Once the incision is made, the surgeon will sculpt the exposed ear cartilage and re-position it closer to the head for a more natural-looking appearance. The surgeon may use non-removable stitches to help the cartilage maintain its position. In some cases, the surgeon will remove more excessive cartilage in order to enhance the ultimate appearance of the ear.

In the second common technique, skin is removed and the ear cartilage is folded back. There is no cartilage removed in this technique. Non-removable stitches are used to help the cartilage maintain its position. Dissolvable or removable stitches are used for the incision location, which are removed or dissolve within seven days.

Risks and Complications

Complications are possible with any plastic surgery, though they are rare with otoplasty. As with any surgery, there is risk of complications related to infection or reaction to anesthesia. A proper assessment of every patient, along with complete lab work, will help in the prevention of postoperative complications. After healing, scars are handled with special treatments to help in the minimization of their appearance.

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