What are the Steps of an ear surgery (otoplasty) procedure?

Otoplasty, which is commonly known as ear pinning, is a plastic surgery procedure to reshape the ears creating a more appealing and proportionate facial appearance.

Various surgical techniques may be used to perform ear surgery, and the steps involved in the procedure can differ slightly based on the technique used.

During the pre-operative consultation, the surgeon will inform the patient on the otoplasty surgery and steps involved. The patient should unhesitatingly ask questions and make a judicious choice.

Board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Bryson Richards provides otoplasty to patients in Las Vegas, NV, and surrounding locations.



Otoplasty is a relatively less invasive procedure which can be undertaken only with local anesthesia and sedation for adult patients. However, children will typically undergo ear reshaping surgery under general anesthesia.

General anesthesia will be administered by an anesthesiologist or a certified nurse anesthetist, who will remain in the operating room throughout the procedure to oversee the patient’s response. The procedure is usually completed in less than two hours.


Incision and Cartilage Reshaping

After anesthesia, the procedure will commence with the surgeon making an incision behind the ear. They will place this incision in a discreet location to ensure that any future scarring is discreet. The incision will enable the ear cartilage to be exposed so that the surgeon can reshape it appropriately.

The surgeon will reshape the cartilage in an accurate and delicate manner to improve the symmetry and proportion of the ears. In case the ears are oversized, they may have to remove a substantial amount of cartilage. The surgeon may also remove sagging skin through the same incisions.


Ear Repositioning

If the ear is projecting far from the head, the surgeon will modify its position to be closer to the sides of the head after the cartilage reshaping is undertaken. This is known as ear pinning.

Cartilage sparing and scoring techniques and skin removal from the back of the ear will usually be involved in this step. The surgeon will individualize the techniques to accomplish the desired position and shape of the ears in a less invasive manner.


Incision Closure

After reshaping the ear, the surgeon will seal the incisions using traditional or absorbable sutures. They will also wrap the incision area in bandages temporarily.


Outpatient Procedure

The patient will be moved to a recovery area following the cosmetic surgery. After the initial effects of the procedure and anesthesia wear off, the patient may be able to go back home in a few hours.

They should arrange for someone responsible to drive them back home. For children undergoing otoplasty, the surgeon may recommend an overnight stay at the hospital for closer observation.

Otoplasty surgery may include additional steps if it is a reconstructive ear surgery to address a birth defect or to repair injuries such as burns, lacerations, or infected and torn piercings.

Cosmetic surgeon Dr. Bryson Richards receives patients from Las Vegas, NV, and nearby areas for otoplasty.
If you would like more information on cosmetic surgery procedures and treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada plastic surgeon, Dr. Bryson Richards please contact us at 702.870.7070

Taking new patients from Las Vegas, Bullhead City,  Laughlin, Pahrump, Mesquite NV and surrounding areas.

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