What is Pinnaplasty?
Correction of prominent ears (referred to as Pinnaplasty or Otoplasty) is an operation performed by Dr Hussain under local anaesthetic to adjust the position of ears that are considered to protrude excessively, to a more ‘normal’ position.
During the Pinnaplasty procedure
The operation involves adjustment of the ear cartilage, in order to reduce its tendency to spring back to its original position, via an incision behind the ear. The adjustment is done using permanent stitches and/or cuts in the cartilage. Stitches are used to close the incisions (wounds) in the skin. The whole procedure usually takes around two hours (both ears), and the operation produces a curved-vertical scar behind the ear. The scar usually heals well and becomes inconspicuous after several months; however, in some people, it can become thickened and more prominent than usual.
After the Pinnaplasty procedure
At the end of the operation, a head bandage will be placed over your ears. You will be required to wear this for 7 to 10 days. This ensures that the ears remain in the corrected position while healing takes place. It also prevents the ears from being pulled forward inadvertently, which might cause the wound to open up.
Your ears will be sore. This is normally relieved using simple painkillers such as Paracetamol but you should contact Dr Hussain’s Secretary (07580 411 350) the pain is severe or if you notice any bleeding through the bandages.
Dr Hussain will remove the head bandage after 7-10 days. There may be a small number of stitches that will be removed by Dr Hussain at the same time. At this stage, it is normal for your ears to be quite swollen and bruised – this will settle down and look much better after a few weeks. A head bandage should be worn at night for at least two – eight weeks after the first bandage has been removed. Many patients purchase a sports headband which is often a suitable and much more convenient alternative.
After 7-10 days, you may return to work, but you should avoid swimming and contact sports for another four weeks. You may wash your hair once the head bandage has been removed but you should not scrub too vigorously.
Significant, unavoidable or frequently occurring risks of Pinnaplasty
All operations carry risks. A few of the more common problems are:
Occasionally the scars behind your ears become slightly thickened over time and very rarely they can become very prominent and unsightly. There is no way of predicting this response because the way skin
heals varies from person to person. Prominent scars can be treated, but often they are easily covered by the hair and being behind the ears makes them relatively inconspicuous.
Most ears are not perfectly identical. Perfect symmetry between your ears cannot be guaranteed after the operation, although conspicuous differences are uncommon. In some cases, the shape of the ear is not satisfactory after the operation, and further surgery may be required to correct this.
Haematoma (bleeding and bruising)
Occasionally some blood from the wound comes through the dressings after the operation. This, especially if it is associated with severe pain, usually means there is persistent bleeding from the wound. If this happens you should contact Dr Hussain’s Secretary (07580 411 350).
Very occasionally the wound(s) behind the ears start to open up. If this happens, you will need to have further dressings put on by Dr Hussain until the wound(s) heal on their own. Depending on the size of the gap, this can take a few weeks to heal. Most patients consider this just to be a nuisance and it rarely spoils the final result.
After the operation occasionally a wound infection may develop. This will be evident by the area becoming painful, weepy and tender. This may be treated with antibiotics prescribed by Dr Hussain.
Sometimes absorbable stitches are used for the back of the ear(s). These do not need to be removed unless they start to move up to the skin surface where they can cause irritation.
Sometimes one or more of the internal sutures holding the cartilage in its new position can break in the early postoperative period, causing the ear to become prominent again. If this occurs then further surgery will be required to redo the sutures.