Prominent external ears (prominotia and lop ear) may be a source of embarrassment or teasing throughout childhood, and may severely impact a person’s confidence as an adult. In the case of prominent but normally-shaped ears, the bowl (concha cavum) of the ear is too large or projects too far away from the side of the head (mastoid bone). In other cases, the top of the external ear (pinna) is lacking one of the normal folds (lop ear). This gives the ears a fullness or a rabbit-like appearance and may cause them to look out of proportion with the rest of the face.

Luckily, each of these issues can be treated with a simple surgical procedure called otoplasty or ear pinning. Dr. Ransom reshapes or pins prominent ears using suture and cartilage-shaping techniques. All incisions are placed behind the ear, leaving no visible scars. Otoplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure and can be performed with local anesthesia or minimal sedation in an office-based facility or ambulatory surgery center. For children, the procedure may be performed in a hospital setting. Please contact Dr. Ransom for more information about otoplasty or to schedule your consultation today!

Who is a candidate?

People with prominent ears or ears that project too far from the sides of the head may be a candidate for otoplasty or ear pinning. In adults, surgical correction can be undertaken at any time. In children, the ears must be done growing before the procedure is performed. In most cases, the external ears reach adult size between 8 and 12 years of age. Dr. Ransom would be happy to discuss the anatomy of the external ear and procedures that are used to reshape this area during your consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please note that all patients are different and individual healing times and results may vary. The statements regarding procedures and recovery made here are general rules.

Can I drive after ear surgery?

Yes, you can drive after ear surgery. Restrictions on driving would include the following: 1) any patient with a bulky dressing (e.g., the first day after otoplasty) that can obscure peripheral vision; 2) any patient taking narcotic pain killers; 3) any patient who was under general anesthesia for a procedure should not drive for 24 hours.

Does otoplasty affect hearing?

No, otoplasty does not affect the internal ear and therefore will not affect hearing.

Does otoplasty last forever?

The changes created with otoplasty surgery are permanent. However, during the healing process, some of the correction is typically lost. This give back is expected and is due to the ear cartilage memory.

How dangerous is ear surgery?

Ear surgery (otoplasty and earlobe reduction) is safe and can be performed on most patients.

How do you sleep after ear surgery?

It is important to sleep with the head elevated 45 degrees and the face up (on your back) for at least a week after the surgery.

How ear surgery is done?

Otoplasty has two general considerations: 1) setting the ear back closer to the side of the head; and 2) creating or enhancing the fold of the top part of the ear. These maneuvers are performed with sutures and manipulation of the ear carltilage and soft tissues.

How long after otoplasty can I exercise?

For the first two weeks after the surgery, it is important to limit activity to a brisk walk. Beginning in the third week, light cardio can be performed. Weightlifting and contact sports must be avoided for 6 weeks.

How is ear surgery done?

Earlobe reduction is performed via wedge excision of excess tissue near the cheek, followed by repair of the tissue with reattachment to the side of the face. The shape and orientation of the wedge excision is determined by the patients ear shape and desired outcome.

How long does dizziness last after ear surgery?

Dizziness is uncommon after otoplasty. This is associated with inner ear surgery, not external ear surgery.

Dr. Evan Ransom is an Ivy League-educated and Ivy League trained Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. He is a Double Board Certified Head and Neck Surgeon and Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and fellowship-trained in facial plastic, reconstructive, and laser surgery. His practice is in the San Francisco Bay Area, serving patients from San Francisco, Oakland, Marin County, Palo Alto, Silicon Valley, Walnut Creek, the East Bay, and all over Northern California.