Enhancing your appearance with ear surgery

If protruding or dis?gured ears bother you or your child, you may consider plastic surgery. Ear surgery — also known as otoplasty— can improve the shape, position or proportion of the ear. It can correct a defect in the ear structure that is present at birth, that becomes apparent with development or it can treat misshapen ears caused by injury.

Ear surgery creates a natural shape, while bringing balance and proportion to the ears and face. Correction of even minor deformities can have profound bene?ts to appearance and self-esteem.

Specifically ear surgery can treat:

  • Overly large ears — a rare condition called macrotia
  • Protruding ears occurring on one or both sides in varying degrees — not associated with hearing loss
  • Adult dissatisfaction with previous ear surgery

Is it right for me?

Ear surgery is a highly individualized procedure and you should do it for yourself, not to ful?ll someone else’s desires or to try to ?t any sort of ideal image.

Children who are good candidates for ear surgery are:

  • Healthy, without a life-threatening illness or untreated chronic ear infections
  • Generally 5 years old, or when a child’s ear cartilage is stable enough for correction
  • Cooperative and follow instructions well
  • Able to communicate their feelings and do not voice objections when surgery is discussed

Teenagers and adults who are good candidates for ear surgery are:

  • Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
  • Non-smokers
  • Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for ear surgery


Step 1 – Anesthesia

Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include local, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.

Step 2 – The incision

Correction of protruding ears uses surgical techniques to create or increase the antihelical fold (just inside the rim of the ear) and to reduce enlarged conchal cartilage (the largest and deepest concavity of the external ear). Incisions for otoplasty are generally made on the back surface of the ear. When incisions are necessary on the front of the ear, they are made within its folds to hide them. Internal, non-removable sutures are used to create and secure the newly shaped cartilage in place.

Step 3 – Closing the incisions

External stitches close the incision. Techniques are individualized, taking care not to distort other structures and to avoid an unnatural “pinned back” appearance.

Step 4 – See the results

Ear surgery offers near immediate results in cases of protruding ears, visible once the dressings that support the new shape of the ear during initial phases of healing are removed. With the ear permanently positioned closer to the head, surgical scars are either hidden behind the ear or well-hidden in the natural creases of the ear.

Results and outlook

Ear surgery offers almost immediate results in cases of protruding ears, visible when the dressings that support the new shape of the ear during initial phases of healing are removed. With the ear permanently positioned closer to the head, surgical scars are either hidden behind the ear or well hidden within the natural creases of the ear.

The results of more extensive ear surgery and reconstruction may appear in stages over time.


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Ear Pinning Surgery (Otoplasty) with Dr. John Thomassen

Ear Pinning (Otoplasty) refers to the reshaping of the ear. Dr. John Michael Thomassen is a Reconstructive Surgeon who frequently performs Ear Pinning surgery in Fort Lauderdale. Otoplasty can be used to improve the proportion, position and shape of the ear.

Dr. Thomassen can correct a defect in the structure of the ear that was present at birth, but becomes more apparent as the individual develops; moreover, he can treat ears that have become misshapen due to injury.

Issues That Ear Surgery (Otoplasty) Can Address

Otoplasty is commonly used as a means to address large ears or ears that protrude. The folding of flexible cartilage gives ears their shape; however, abnormal folding of this cartilage can lead to protrusion. Although protruding ears do not usually lead to a functional problem, many people decide to have an Ear Pinning procedure with Dr. Thomassen for cosmetic reasons.

During an Otoplasty procedure, Dr. Thomassen creates a natural shape, improving the proportion of an individual’s ears and face; thus, providing him or her with a more balanced facial appearance.

Ear Surgery (Otoplasty) Can Treat:

  • Protruding ears – the ears may protrude on one or both sides and in varying degrees.
  • Macrotia – overly large ears.
  • Adult dissatisfaction related to previous ear surgery.

Ideal Candidates for an Ear Surgery (Otoplasty) in Fort Lauderdale

Individuals who are unhappy with the way their ears look because they protrude may want to consider having Ear Pinning surgery.

Unfortunately, children with prominent ears are frequently teased by their peers, which is why many of the individuals who choose to have Ear Pinning surgery are children and/or their parents.

Parents who are considering Ear Pinning surgery for their child should meet with Dr. Thomassen at his office in Fort Lauderdale. Typically, a child that is at least five years old is a good candidate for Ear Pinning surgery. Otoplasty is not recommended for children younger than five years old because their ears have not completely developed, furthermore, these children are too young to follow Dr. Thomassen’s post-operative instructions.

Otoplasty Initial Consultation – What Patients Can Expect

  • During the initial consultation with Dr. Thomassen at his office in Fort Lauderdale, patients will be asked about any previous conditions, surgical procedures or treatments.
  • Dr. Thomassen needs to know if the patient regularly takes any vitamins, medications and/or herbal supplements. Additionally, patients need to inform Dr. Thomassen of any allergies they have to medications and/or latex products.
  • Patients who smoke, drink alcoholic beverages and/or use recreational drugs should disclose this information.

Dr. Thomassen might:

  • Take pictures to place in the patient’s file. These pictures may be used for reference and comparison purposes.
  • Discuss his treatment plan and address issues related to any complications or risks the patient should be aware of.
  • Recommend the type of anesthesia he believes will suit the patient best.
  • Answer any questions the patient has related to the Ear Pinning procedure

Preparing for an Otoplasty Procedure (Ear Pinning Surgery)

Since patients who choose to have an Otoplasty will be given anesthesia, Dr. Thomassen might request the individual have a physical exam prior to the procedure.

An individual may need to discontinue taking certain medications, vitamins and/or herbal supplements. For example, individuals who take aspirin may need to discontinue taking it for some time prior to their procedure: Aspirin affects the ability of the blood to clot, which may increase the incidence of bleeding.

Otoplasty in Fort Lauderdale – The Day of the Procedure

An Otoplasty procedure (Ear Pinning Surgery) is an outpatient procedure that lasts approximately three hours. Dr. Thomassen performs these procedures at his Fort Lauderdale surgical suite. Since patients receive anesthesia during their Ear Pinning Surgery (Otoplasty), they will not be permitted to drive; therefore, they need to bring a driver with them to the facility. In addition, patients should have someone they trust remain with them for at least 24 hours following their Ear Pinning (Otoplasty) procedure.

Ear Pinning (Otoplasty) in Fort Lauderdale – The Procedure

1. Anesthesia

Typically, a combination of local anesthesia and sedation are used to keep older children and adults comfortable throughout their Ear Pinning (Otoplasty) procedure; whereas, young children usually receive general anesthesia.

2. Making the Incisions

Incisions are placed behind the ear: This ensures that they remain well-hidden. The technique used depends on the problem Dr. Thomassen is addressing. Once Dr. Thomassen knows what a patient would like to achieve with an Otoplasty (Ear Pinning Surgery), he can determine which of the following techniques will serve the patient the best.

One of the most common techniques involves the creation of a small incision that exposes the cartilage inside the ear:

Once exposed, the cartilage is sculpted and shaped to the desired position. Then, it is bent back toward the patient’s head. In the majority of cases, non-removable stitches remain intact to maintain the improved shape of the ear. In order to give the patient a natural looking fold, Dr. Thomassen might choose to remove a piece of cartilage from the ear.

Removing skin instead of cartilage:

Another technique Dr. Thomassen uses at his surgical suite in Fort Lauderdale involves removing skin as opposed to cartilage. Once the skin is excised, the cartilage is folded onto itself and stitches are used to keep the newly formed cartilage in place. This technique allows Dr. Thomassen to pull the ear flat against the head; thus, enabling him to reshape the ear without the need to remove any cartilage.

Generally, to provide the patient with a more balanced appearance, Dr. Thomassen performs an Otoplasty on both ears even if only one of the patient’s ears is misshapen.

3. Closing the Incisions

Dr. Thomassen uses sutures to close the incisions.

4. Wrapping the Head

Dr. Thomassen wraps the patient’s head in a bulky bandage. This bandage protects the ears and helps them maintain their new shape. It is not uncommon for patients to experience throbbing and/or some pain in the ears for a few days following their Ear Pinning procedure. Some patients may have a drain placed in their ears. The drain can usually be removed the day after the Ear Pinning procedure.

5. Removal and Replacement of the Head Bandage

After three to five days, the initial head bandage is removed and replaced by a lighter head dressing that resembles a headband.

6. Removing the Sutures

Sutures usually dissolve or are removed at Dr. Thomassen’s office in Fort Lauderdale within seven days.

7. Recovery

Recovery from an Ear Pinning procedure is typically less than a week, at which time patients can return to school and/or work. While patients will experience some discomfort, it is minimal and can be controlled with medication. Any activities that risk injury to the ear should be avoided for at least one month following an Ear Pinning surgery.

8. The Results

Results are almost immediate. Scars are hidden behind the ears.

If you want to learn more about Ear Pinning procedures, contact Dr. John Michael Thomassen’s office today. Thomassen Plastic Surgery provides the residents of Fort Lauderdale and its surrounding areas with numerous surgical, and non-surgical procedures as well as innovative products that are designed to help them look their very best.