Ear correction surgery – clinically referred to as ‘otoplasty’ or ‘pinnaplasty’ and commonly known as ‘ear pinning’ or ‘bat ear’ surgery is a cosmetic surgery procedure frequently performed on both adults and children by Mr Chris Fenn, consultant plastic, reconstructive and cosmetic surgeon based in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

What is ear correction surgery?

Otoplasty/pinnaplasty is an operation performed to change the appearance of the ears by either reshaping or reducing their size or by repositioning them closer to the head.

What are the benefits of ear correction surgery?

Adults opting for ear correction surgery often say that they have been unhappy with their ears for most of their life. They feel embarrassed by their size or prominence and consequently feel self-conscious about the way they look. 

It is common for both men and women to wear their hair long in an attempt to hide their ears. And it can become particularly difficult for men with thinning hair as they are less able to disguise their ears and feel that their shape/size is becoming more obvious as their hair recedes.

Children and teenagers with protruding ears sometimes find that they are teased or even bullied by their classmates about their ‘sticky out’ ears. 

Otoplasty/pinnaplasty surgery improves the shape, size or position of the ears, creating a more natural look. Both adults and children that have their ears corrected by surgery tend to feel happier in their appearance after the operation and subsequently have more self-confidence. 

Am I suitable for ear correction surgery?

If your ears are prominent, misshaped or overly large and you feel it is having a detrimental impact on your life then you could be suitable for ear correction surgery. Children experiencing similar problems may also be suitable.

If you are considering otoplasty/pinnaplasty surgery, you will need to arrange an out-patient consultation with Mr Chris Fenn. After a discussion about your medical history and an examination of your ears, Mr Fenn will be able to confirm whether ear correction surgery would work for you.

As with every cosmetic surgery procedure, you must assess your expectations to ensure they are realistic before you decide to go ahead. To help you make an informed decision, Mr Fenn will encourage you to ask questions during the appointment and will advise you to think about the ear correction surgery for some time before you proceed.

What does ear correction surgery involve?

Otoplasty/pinnaplasty surgery takes between 1-2 hours and can be performed under a general anaesthetic. This is usually the case when the patient is a child. Older patients often have the procedure under a local anaesthetic – you can discuss whether this is an option for you during your consultation with Mr Fenn.

There are different procedures used in ear correction surgery depending on your individual needs. Mr Fenn will tailor your surgery accordingly and will discuss the surgical options during the consultation.

Protruding ears

Prominent ears are usually caused by excess cartilage behind the ears or by the absence/inadequate development of the ‘anti-helical’ fold in the cartilage.

To correct ‘sticky out’ ears, incisions are made behind each ear, usually along the natural crease, enabling the scar to remain well hidden. 

If necessary, surplus cartilage is removed and the remaining cartilage is reshaped to create the ‘anti-helical’ fold.  This is achieved by weakening the cartilage along the proposed new ridge line, sometimes using absorbable internal sutures to hold and maintain the new shape. The skin is re-draped over the ears and then the ears are stitched back into their new position.

As the incisions were made along the natural crease, scarring is barely visible once healed.

Misshaped ears

To correct irregular shaped ears, the lobes and/or rim are reshaped and stitched back into position. Scarring tends to be minimal and again, difficult to see once healed.

How long does it take to recover?

Usually you are able to go home the same day as the surgery.  A head dressing is used to protect and help mould the ears. It also helps to relieve discomfort and reduce swelling.  The dressing is removed at the first dressing change – approximately a week after surgery.

Painkilling medication will also help you to manage any pain that you may experience.

In the first week or two, you will be encouraged to stay as upright as possible. And while you will be asked to keep mobile, you will be advised to avoid any strenuous activity that may put strain on your ears for several weeks.

The amount of time you will need off work will depend on the nature of your job but most people tend to return to work within a couple of weeks of surgery.

You will need to return to the hospital for a series of follow up appointments with both the cosmetic surgery nursing team and Mr Fenn to ensure your wounds are healing as they should.

How much does ear correction surgery cost?

If you would like to know the price for otoplasty/pinnaplasty surgery, contact Mr Chris Fenn’s secretary, Claire Bartle-Coates on 0113 218 5971, email Claire.bartle-coates@spirehealthcare.com or complete an on-line enquiry form.

How do I find out more about ear correction surgery?

To find out more about ear correction surgery or to book a consultation with Mr Chris Fenn, call his secretary Claire Bartle-Coates on 0113 218 5971, email Claire.bartle-coates@spirehealthcare.com or complete an on-line enquiry form.