Grant A. Fairbanks, MD

Cosmetic & Reconstructive Plastic Surgery

Ear Pinning: Otoplasty

 Overview of Ear Pinning

  • Correction of prominent, protruding ears
  • Addresses the position and shape of the ear
  • Correction of ear deformities that did not improve since birth
  • Improves ear proportions
  • Improves a deformity as a result of an injury
  • Typically the procedure is done at 6 years of age and older
  • Secondary Otoplasty revises the unsatisfactory results of a prior surgery 

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary. Images do not constitute a promise or representation of any particular outcome or experience.

Intro to Ear Pinning

In today’s society, protruding or large ears are seen as less-than-attractive. Children with this deformity can end up being the target for incessant teasing by bullies on the playground. Being the subject of mockery often adversely affects a child’s self-esteem. However, having a child’s ears set back/pinned can help prevent future ridicule.

The Ear Pinning  procedure provides more of the natural shape and proportion of the ears. It also gives an aesthetic balance to the face. Setting the ears into a more normal position, with ear pinning surgery, typically helps a person to be less self-conscious while improving self-confidence.

Adults who undergo an ear pinning procedure often make the comment that they wished their parents had done this for them when they were younger. Usually, this is because of the teasing experienced as children. They will also comment that there was no problem getting braces, but their big ears were not as important to their parents.   

Then there are those who had a previous ear pinning procedure with unsatisfactory results. What do they do? A second ear pinning surgery, a Secondary Otoplasty, corrects a deformity that may be even worse than their original abnormality.

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary. Images do not constitute a promise or representation of any particular outcome or experience.

Candidates for the Procedure

  • Someone with prominent / protruding ears
  • Someone with oddly positioned ears
  • Someone with larger or irregularly small ears
  • Ear deformity as a result of injury
  • A patient 6 years of age or older

             –  Able to express the desire to have surgery           
             –  Good cooperation
             –  Follows directions

  • Good physical health
  • Non-Smoker
  • Dissatisfaction with prior surgery of the ear



Many will have this ear pinning surgery done as adults, finally addressing something that has bothered them for years. Typically, the procedure is done at six years of age and older. At this time, the child’s ears are about 85% of adult size.


*Disclaimer: Individual results vary. Images do not constitute a promise or representation of any particular outcome or experience.

Details of Procedure

Markings are made before the surgery to identify the natural landmarks of the ear. The procedure is typically done under general anesthesia. The approach is from behind the ear in a well-hidden crease. Additional skin may be removed to help with the positioning of the ear. The natural folds of the ear are made and are held in position with sutures. If the ear needs further correction of the protrusion, the ears are rotated back and secured with additional sutures.

A well-padded dressing is placed to protect the ears in their new position for the next week. When the dressing is removed there is minimal swelling and the patient is able to see the new position of the ears after ear pinning surgery.


Secondary Otoplasty

When someone has already had an ear pinning procedure and they are displeased with the results, the Secondary Otoplasty will help to correct the new defect; essentially, redoing the surgery. This procedure may require additional techniques to regain the normal anatomic structures of the ear. The goal with the surgery is to have a more normal or anatomiclooking ear. Dr. Fairbanks will be able to give the patient a better idea as to what to expect, once he is able to evaluate the acquired deformity.


Recovery from Ear Pinning Surgery

After an Ear Pinning Surgery there will be some discomfort initially; this lessens each day. Pain medications are helpful.

The overall recovery of an ear pinning procedure depends on the patient’s health. For the first week of recovery the headdressing will stay in place to protect the ears and hold the new shape. When the dressing is taken off, the ears will be set in their new position.

Strenuous activities, exercise and sports are discouraged for the first 6 weeks to allow the healing tissues to become stronger. Initially, the well-hidden scars will be red, but will fade over the next year.

Results generally last a lifetime.

Call Fairbanks Plastic Surgery at (801) 951-8099 today to schedule an Ear Pinning Procedure consultation.

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary. Images do not constitute a promise or representation of any particular outcome or experience.

Related Procedures:

Ear Reconstruction for Microtia

Ear Reconstruction for Trauma

Ear Reconstruction for Cancer

Ear Molding / Ear Well in Infancy


*All post-operative pictures are of real patients of Fairbanks Plastic Surgery. Identifiable images are used with patient or parent of patient permission.