What is otoplasty surgery?
Otoplasty, or ear pinning surgery, is the surgical reshaping of the outer ear to correct deformities or improve the aesthetic appearance. Otoplasty surgery is most commonly performed to correct overly prominent or protruding ears. Ear pinning surgery is an outpatient surgery that can be done under light sedation in the surgical center or under local anesthetic in our office.
Drs. Thompson and Henstrom see many children, adolescents and adults concerned about their protruding ears. Many report years of bullying with cruel nicknames like “Dumbo” & “Mickey Mouse” or have parents looking to correct the problem before the bullying begins. Even if only mildly distorted, the impact can be quite harmful.
Our surgeons take great interest in helping young children and adolescents to feel more confident and self-assured through otoplasty surgery. On top of 10 plus years of experience with otoplasty surgery in private practice, both surgeons have also traveled to South America frequently to perform ear surgery for children born with Microtia, a congenital deformity where one or both ears are underdeveloped. Many of these children and adolescents have experienced ostracization in their community and/or within their family units. Without the work that our surgeons and team provide, they would otherwise have no options. You can learn more on Dr. Thompson’s Medical Mission page.
Frequently Asked Questions
An ideal otoplasty candidate is at least 5 years old with ears that have reached full size. It is often desirable to consider this surgery before children start Kindergarten or first grade. By this age, the child has a personal interest in improving his/her appearance and is more motivated to comply with pre and post-operative instructions and actually look forward to the procedure.
An idea candidate also has good to excellent health and is desiring this procedure to improve their quality of life.
Dr. Scott Thompson and Dr. Douglas Henstrom, both double board certified facial plastic surgeons in Utah, have extensive experience performing otoplasty surgery. You and/or your child’s concerns will be discussed as well as the goals and motivations for surgery. Your surgeon will make sure this is something the potential patient is desiring will strive to make this process as comfortable as possible, especially for young children. And exam and health history review will also take place at this time as well.
Your surgeon will then examine the structure of the ears relative to the head and determine candidacy for otoplasty surgery. The procedure will be discussed in detail with all risks and benefits evaluated at that time for you to make an well informed decision.
Both surgeons advise no aspirin, ibuprofen products, Vitamin E and certain herbal medications before surgery, as these medications can cause increased bleeding and/or bruising. More information is given at a pre-operative appointment 2 weeks prior to surgery.
The Patient Care Coordinator will then provide a detailed quote for the surgical cost as well as anesthesia and facility if applicable. They can also help facilitate the next step in the process and/or provide additional resources, such as before and after photos, articles, educations videos, etc.
Under light sedation or local anesthesia, incisions are made along the back of each ear, in the natural fold where the ear is joined to the head. The skin is loosened and the cartilage is reshaped with sutures positioning the ears in a natural position, closer to the head. When a satisfactory result has been achieved, a dressing is placed over both ears and any necessary prescriptions can be started.
- Effectively and permanently improves position of the ears
- Can be performed under local anesthesia or light sedation (in-office or surgical center)
- Highly effective with low complication rate
- Typically offers a real emotional boost, in addition to its cosmetic benefits
Soft dressings are placed over both ears following surgery and removed the following day. Most patients report mild discomfort and may experience slight disruption in sleep patterns if accustomed to sleeping on their side. It is important not to put any pressure on the ear areas for approximately one week following surgery.
Headbands are given in the office for patients to wear continually for five days and then just at bedtime for an additional 7 days. This helps hold the ears in place and protect them during the recovery process.
The sutures are removed one week after surgery and steri-strips are applied for an additional 3-4 days.
Following otoplasty surgery, patients report a greater sense of self-confidence and satisfaction with their overall appearance. Boys will often cut their hair after having kept it long to cover their prominent ears prior to surgery. And many girls are excited to finally be able to wear their hair pulled up with confidence.
Insurance does not generally cover surgery that is purely for cosmetic reasons. Surgery to correct or improve birth defects or injuries may receive partial or full coverage depending on the insurance plan.
Without insurance coverage, the total cost will vary depending on where the procedure is performed and how long it will take. The actual surgical fee for otoplasty surgery is typically $2900 to $3300. For patients that are comfortable being awake during the procedure – typically adolescents and adults – this procedure can be done in the office. If done in a facility under light sedation, there will be 2 additional fees for anesthesia and facility. Your Patient Care Coordinator can provide an exact total for all fees at the consultation.
We do have financing options for otoplasty surgery that you can learn more about HERE.
“Thank you for putting my ear’s back. You’re the best doctor ever. Thanks for making me feel happy. I’m already having a better life. Me and my mom and my family is loving my new ears and I’m liking them too. And the last thing, I hope you make other people happy too.” ~ AH
“Dr. Thompson is amazing. We were so lucky to find out about him from a co-worker who’s husband had his nose fixed by Dr. Thompson. We also read about Dr. Thompson in a medical magazine. We knew that we wanted someone who specialized in ears and we were so happy that we chose Dr. Thompson. Although we loved our daughter Calee’s funny little ears, we knew that as she got older, kids were going to tease her more and more. We wanted them fixed before she started kindergarten and decided to meet with Dr. Thompson. He was so cute and sweet with Calee throughout the whole process. The day of the surgery was very smooth. He took his time and spent an hour an hour on each ear, and the results were amazing. We couldn’t be happier. Thanks so much Dr. Thompson!!!” ~ TM
Otoplasty or Ear-pinning surgery on The Younger You with Troy Thompson
- Otoplasty Interview on Good Things Utah
- Protruding ears: helping children overcome the stigma on KSL.com
- ABC4Utah Highlights Dr. Thompson’s Extensive Experience with Ear Pinning Surgery (Otoplasty) in Utah
- Otoplasty Patient Thank You Letter
- Otoplasty To Help With Bullying
- Otoplasty For Outstanding Ears
- Ideal Age for Otoplasty
- Salt Lake City Utah Otoplasty
- Ear Pinning Is A Simple Outpatient Procedure
- Meet Utah’s Top Plastic Surgeon
- What Is The Difference Between A Plastic Surgeon and Cosmetic Surgeon?
- Corrective Ear Surgery in Salt Lake City, Utah