Ear Correction and Pinning of Large Ears
Protruding ears may cause more embarrassment than others realize. For young children, classroom teasing, and nicknames, like Dumbo, may sometimes have a long-term, damaging psychological effect. However, many adults are self-conscious about large protruding ears. Otoplasty is a cosmetic procedure designed to reposition protruding ears and improve facial symmetry. Ear surgery can improve the proportion, position, and shape of the ear, as well as congenital effects or irregularities resulting from an injury.
Following ear pinning, patients enjoy improved feelings of confidence and standing out among their peers for their unique personalities, instead of overly large ears.
For more information about surgery to correct oversized or protruding ears, call Dr. Langsdon at 901-755-6465.
What Otoplasty Can Correct
- Macrotia (overly large ears)
- Protruding ears in varying degrees on both sides or just one. (Not associated with hearing loss)
- Correct unsatisfactory results from previous ear surgery
What Causes Development of Large Ears?
During embryologic development (before birth), the ears project straight out, away from the head. By the ninth month, the ears usually assume natural folds and a position closer to the head. When the pre-birth developmental process stops short of completion, the ears are prominent and may lack the usual folds.
Since the anterior half of the head develops from two opposite sides, even ears considered normal are rarely identical; the ears may also attach to the skull at slightly different levels or angles. Perfect symmetry of corrected ears is an unrealistic expectation. Therefore, small differences in corrected ears should not detract from their improved appearance.
At What Age is Ear Surgery Usually Recommended?
Since children may experience teasing by their classmates, it may be important to perform the surgery around age five to nine, thus sparing the child the emotional trauma that can occur during their early school years. However, the procedure can be performed at a later age; many teenagers and adults undergo otoplasty.
Meet Dr. Langsdon
President of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 2018
Phillip R. Langsdon, M.D. is Clinical Professor, Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis. Dr. Langsdon’s career has been limited and focused entirely on Facial Plastic Surgery and he has dedicated himself to the pursuit of excellence in his field.
- In good health and without severe illness or untreated ear infection
- At least five years of age when the ear cartilage is stable enough for correction
- Understands how to follow instructions
- Can communicate their opinions and they agree with surgery
Ear correction is an individualized procedure, sought for personal reasons. Dr. Langsdon is committed to helping patients feel confident by providing them with an improved facial profile.
Your Otoplasty Consultation at The Langsdon Clinic
The safety and success of your procedure depend on complete honesty during the consultation process. Dr. Langsdon will ask questions about your aesthetic goals, health, and lifestyle.
Prepare to discuss the expectations and goals you have for otoplasty, your medical history, allergies, and any current treatments, as well as any previous surgeries. Be sure to disclose the use of prescribed medications, supplements, vitamins, tobacco, alcohol, and drugs
At your appointment, Dr. Langsdon will evaluate your medical history, current health status, and risk factors. He will also take photos for your medical file, explain options in detail, and recommend a course of treatment. This appointment is the perfect opportunity to discuss expected results and potential complications
Come prepared to ask questions and take notes. Information is essential to feeling confident about your chosen procedure; much of what you learn may take the pressure off undue stress about the procedure.
Preparing for Your Ear Pinning Procedure
Before otoplasty surgery, you may need to obtain a medical evaluation from your primary physician, complete certain lab tests, adjust your current medications or take certain medications, and avoid taking anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and certain supplements, as they may increase bleeding
Special instructions will cover:
- The day of surgery and what to expect
- After-surgery recovery and what to expect
You will need someone to assist you in getting home and caring for you the first night after surgery.
Otoplasty Surgery in Memphis, TN
Dr. Langsdon performs ear pinning surgery at his full service ambulatory surgical center on-site. His surgery center is a fully licensed facility by the State of Tennessee Department of Health and holds a Medicare Certification. The procedure is designed to finish the developmental process by positioning the ears closer to the head and attempting to create the normal ear folds.
With adults, this procedure is possible under twilight and local anesthesia. Patients usually express the surgery as painless, and they recall little about the procedure. Children may sometimes require hospital-based anesthesia, depending upon age and emotional maturity.
Dr. Langsdon uses advanced surgical techniques to correct protruding ears by increasing the antithetical fold (inside the ear’s rim) and decreasing the enlarged conchal cartilage (the deepest and largest concavity of the external ear). He will then make an incision on the back surface of each ear.
If the patient requires incisions on the front of the ear, Dr. Langsdon will hide them within its folds. The use of internal sutures secures the newly shaped cartilage in its optimal position. He will use external sutures to close the incisions.
Cartilage is repositioned and held in place with permanent sutures. An appropriate amount of skin behind the ears may be removed to compensate for the new position of the ears.
After-Care Post Ear Pinning
There is usually little discomfort after surgery. Typically, swelling is minimal and subsides in five to seven days. The patient is fitted with a turban-like dressing until the day following surgery when it is removed at the clinic. Afterward, a stocking cap or elastic headband is worn for about two weeks to protect the ears.
The decrease in the space behind the ear is a normal occurrence after repositioning. Incisional scarring behind the ears is usually minimal and not noticeable to the casual observer,
Occasionally, when the ear cartilage is thick and strong, it tends to resist the correction, and an ear tuck may be necessary after six to twelve months from initial surgery.
Although most patients may return to light work or school after a week, you should protect the ears for at least two months. As with any surgery, it may take a year, occasionally longer, for the healing process to complete.
For more information about treatment for large ears, or ear pinning, call Dr. Langsdon at 901-755-6465.
Otoplasty Before and After Images
Memphis Otoplasty FAQs
Yes. Otoplasty is often performed on children to spare them from the risk of teasing about large or prominent ears and to help them grow up with improved self-confidence. The procedure can be safely performed on children once the cartilage in their ears has stopped growing, which is typically at age 4 or 5.
Yes. Otoplasty can be performed at any age once the cartilage in the ears has stopped growing. It’s common for adults to have otoplasty to correct ears that angle outward, are overly large, or are misshapen. Adults also choose to have otoplasty to correct asymmetry between both ears. Making the ears less prominent can make an adult’s face appear more balanced and attractive, which can bring a boost in self-esteem and self-confidence.
Yes. Ears that are brought closer to the head, reduced in size, or reshaped with otoplasty will not resume their former projection, size, or shape over time. Because the results of otoplasty are permanent, it’s important to choose a skilled and experienced plastic surgeon.
Otoplasty can correct the appearance of mismatched ears. No face is completely symmetrical, and no two ears are exactly matched. Otoplasty brings the size, projection, and shape of the ears closer to matching, so the difference isn’t noticeable.
The surgery itself is performed using anesthesia, so is not uncomfortable. Some discomfort may be felt in the first few days of recovery, though patients don’t describe this as painful. Any discomfort can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medication and by taking care not to lie on the ears when sleeping.
Otoplasty treats the outer structure of the ear to improve its appearance; however, it does not affect hearing, either for better or worse. If you have hearing problems in addition to cosmetic concerns with your ears, it’s best to see a hearing specialist for diagnosis and treatment first. Once your hearing problems have been addressed, otoplasty can be performed to improve the appearance of the ears.
After we remove the dressings, you will see a difference in your ear’s appearance, although you may also notice some swelling. No peeking at the ear until after we remove the compression dressing! Doing so may alter the outcome or increase the chance of infection.
With good after surgery care, treatment is a safe and rewarding experience which carries little risk of complications. Possible complications include a reaction to the anesthesia, asymmetry, visible scarring, blood clot, infection, bleeding, and aesthetic dissatisfaction.
After five to seven days, you can return to normal daily activities
You should avoid strenuous activities for at least one month, possibly two.
We remove external sutures after one week if they are not absorbable.
Your insurance company may cover surgery. You should consult with them to see if it is part of your plan.