Otoplasty (Ear Pinback)

Otoplasty is a procedure used to make protruding ears less prominent. Protruding ears are a type of congenital malformation.

At what age should the procedure be performed?

Otoplasty can be performed at any age. Dr. Khan has treated many adult patients for this deformity.

The best time to correct protruding ears is before the child enters school. This can be a traumatizing deformity for school aged children and can have a negative impact on social development during the formative years. The ear develops to its mature size early in childhood and most children can have corrective surgery between 5-7 years old.

Dr. Khan often recommends treating during the school age years to avoid this.

What causes protruding ears?

  • Undeveloped antihelical fold
  • Excess ear cartilage


The procedure is performed through a hidden incision on the back of the ear. Usually a combination of cartilage reduction and sutures are used to reshape the ear into normal contours, although each procedure is tailored to individual anatomic needs. A resorbable suture is used to close the incision in the postauricular crease. The procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia.


Social recovery time is 1 week. After surgery a wrap is placed to hold the ears down and prevent collection of blood. The patient is seen the following day and the wrap is removed and the ears are inspected for blood collections. A head band is then worn around the head at all times for 1 week. After this it is worn only at night for an additional week. No suture removal is required as they dissolve on their own. Wearing of helmets or other head gear is prohibited for the first 6 weeks. Generally patients will refrain from strenuous exercise for 2 weeks.

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