The physicians at Raleigh Plastic Surgery Center specialize in Ear Reshaping Surgery, or Otoplasty, in Raleigh, Cary and surrounding areas of North Carolina.

Otoplasty, also known as ear pinning or ear reshaping surgery, is the most common cosmetic procedure performed to improve the appearance of protruding and abnormal-appearing ears. Most patients who have prominent and cosmetically unacceptable ears have had this condition since childhood. Social embarrassment is in the usual reason for seeking correction. Ear reshaping surgery is often done in early adolescence between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. Adults frequently wished to have this procedure performed later in life as the ears have always bothered them. The procedure involves surgical incisions behind the ears and manipulation of the cartilages with sutures to create a more natural fold with some degree of skin reduction, sometimes cartilage reduction, and placement of the bowl of the ear closer to the head. Other procedures may be necessary to improve the prominence of the earlobe as well. On occasion, patient’s have only one side of their ear that is involved and a unilateral procedure may be necessary. The result is a more natural appearing ear, which are less noticeable and less prominent.

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The Procedure

This procedure is frequently performed as an outpatient in a hospital setting for a child or, for adults, in our fully accredited operating suite under the care of our Board certified anesthesiologist. It can be performed with general anesthetic, IV sedation or even purely local anesthetic. The procedure takes approximately 2 hours and has a very low complication rate.

The Recovery

Ear reshaping surgery is not particularly painful and frequently only needs mild pain medicine. Most patients are required to wear a protective and lightly compressive head wrap that stays in place for 1 to 2 weeks followed by a lighter wrap at nighttime to avoid trauma to the newly operated ear. The suture line is generally behind the ear and the scars that results are usually imperceptible. Avoidance of strenuous activities for 4 weeks is necessary and the use of helmets for biking and other sports is avoided for at least 4-6 weeks. Complications are rare and mostly involves subtle asymmetries and potential for relapse.

FAQ

Q: My earlobe split from my earring, can this be fixed?

A: The repair of the split earlobes is a very common procedure performed by plastic surgeons. This usually results from heavy earrings or trauma by an earring getting pulled on. It sometimes occurs slowly over time and often involves an earlobe piercing hole which has elongated. This problem can be corrected by repair which involves removing the entire edge of the cleft and repairing the front and back. Most patients will need the sutures removed in 2 weeks and we usually offer re-piercing in our office approximately 6 weeks after surgery. Insurance sometimes covers this since it does involve a defect caused by trauma.

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