What is an Otoplasty?

Otoplasty (also known as pinning of the ears), refers to a surgical procedure that aims to change the angle, shape and or size of the ears in children or adults who have been born with prominent or uneven ears. Otoplasty is commonly performed on children or adults who feel their ears protrude too far from their head or are too large. Prominent ears often cause feelings of self-consciousness and may lead to lowered self-esteem, especially in childhood when teasing can result in psychological trauma and a reluctance to be at school or around other children.

This procedure changes the appearance of the ears in relation to the head and face but does not affect the position of the ear on the head, nor the ability to hear.

Fast Facts:

Length of procedure: 1 - 2 Hours.
Type of anaesthesia: General anaesthetic (usually).
Length of stay: Day case.
What to expect post-op: You will need to wear bandages for 7 to 10 days, thereafter a soft elasticated headband worn nightly for a few weeks will protect the shape of the ears.
Recovery time: You should be able to return to work after approximately 5 days. Children may go back to school after 7 days. Avoid contact sports or anything that may bend the ears for a few weeks post-op.

Who might benefit from an Otoplasty?

Children or adults who are unhappy with the shape of their ears because they are too big, stick out too much or are asymmetrical (uneven in shape). Individuals with prominent ears may have lost their self-confidence because they are often teased and ridiculed, leading them to seek out a corrective otoplasty. Dr do Vale may recommend that children with prominent ears should undergo otoplasty around the time that they start school (between 5 and 10 years of age). Adults or teens with prominent ears may present at any age and usually say that they have always been unhappy with their ears.

What does an Otoplasty procedure involve?

Otoplasty is a surgical procedure that typically lasts around 1 to 2 hours. Dr do Vale’s goal is to achieve an attractive, natural appearance of the ears in relation to the face. Otoplasty surgery involves removing an ellipse of skin behind each ear near the fold where the ear joins the head. This incision is inconspicuous and exposes the underlying cartilage structure of the ear. As a plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr do Vale will use a variety of techniques to pin back protruding ears, as required for each individual case.

These techniques include: manipulating the cartilage through scoring (controlled scratching), causing the cartilage to bend into a more natural shape; in some cases removing a piece of the ear cartilage; folding the cartilage back on itself to reshape the ear. Dr do Vale will then use long-lasting stitches to hold the structure of the ear in its new form. Lastly, the incision is closed using stitches that either dissolve or are removed 10 to 14 days after the otoplasty surgery. Having your ears pinned is a major decision. During your consultation, Dr do Vale will discuss and answer the questions you may have regarding otoplasty in Johannesburg, all options available to you, the risks involved, and the expected benefits and results so that together you can come to a personalised decision about the otoplasty that suits your needs.

Recovery after Otoplasty surgery:

Most patients will take about one week to recover before returning to work. Children may go back to school after seven days but should be careful in the playground and avoid sporting activities until cleared for participation by Dr do Vale. You will have to wear bandages for 7 to 10 days, and thereafter it is advisable to wear a soft elasticated headband nightly for a few weeks to protect the shape of the ears. Avoid activities that might bend or hurt the ears, such as contact sports, for several weeks after the otoplasty surgery.

For more information on Otoplasty in Johannesburg or Sandton, or to find out if it’s the right procedure for you, request a consultation below or call 0109003999 to schedule your detailed consultation with Dr do Vale.