Piazza Center for Plastic Surgery and Advanced Skin Care
7900 Farm to Market Road 1826, Bldg 2, Suite 206
Austin, TX 78737
Phone: (512) 288-8200
Monday–Thursday: 8 a.m.–5 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Dr. Marcelo Antunes performs otoplasty, also called ear surgery or ear pinning, in Austin, TX, to surgically reshape and adjust the outer portion of the ear. The outer ear is an intricate structure with bends and curvatures that create a very specific shape. On occasion, some of the bends are not formed, or the curvatures get exaggerated creating an abnormal shape. Even the slightest abnormality in the form and profile of the external ear can drastically change one’s appearance, create self-consciousness, and decrease confidence.
Otoplasty is done to correct overly large or protruding ears. It is the ideal procedure to create a more natural shape to the head by creating balance and proportion between the ears and face and bringing the ears closer to the head. Many parents consider otoplasty for their children if they were born with protruding or disﬁgured ears to avoid possible bullying in school and a future attack on their self-confidence.
Can You Benefit From Otoplasty?
When considering otoplasty, it is important to understand that although deformities and incongruities may be noticed at birth, surgical intervention is not recommended for children until age 5 or 6 when the outer ears are fully developed. Before this age, children rarely notice physical differences in others; teasing typically doesn’t begin until the second and third grades of elementary school.
Otoplasty is not just for children. Adults can also choose to correct the ears they were born with or other deformities acquired by injury or illness. Many adult patients with prominent ears tend to keep their hair long enough to cover their ears due to self-consciousness.
Additionally, Dr. Antunes can combine otoplasty with rhinoplasty for patients who are also bothered by the size or shape of their nose.
Dr. Antunes takes a lot of pride in his work by providing natural, harmonious, and long-lasting results. Otoplasty patients can enjoy an immediate improvement in their appearance and sense of confidence. Hearing is not affected by otoplasty, so concerns about hearing loss should be addressed separately.
Why Choose a Facial Plastic Surgery Specialist?
Preparing for otoplasty requires planning and a clear discussion of desired outcomes and expectations. When considering otoplasty, a skilled and experienced surgeon, such as Dr. Antunes, will carefully examine the entire face and head in order to determine what adjustments will provide the most natural and aesthetically appealing results. The ears do not exist apart from the other facial features, and a properly done otoplasty will be one that restores balance and harmony to one’s overall appearance.
Dr. Antunes performs otoplasty using intravenous sedation or local or general anesthesia. Most children under the age of 16 receive general anesthesia; however, the appropriate method of sedation is always individualized and will be discussed during the pre-surgery consultation.
The procedure takes approximately 1 to 2 hours to complete. Dr. Antunes begins by placing small, barely noticeable incisions behind the ear within the natural folds, a technique that hides scars perfectly. He sculpts the cartilage as necessary to recreate the natural folds of the ear. Dr. Antunes can also perform “ear pinning” by pulling the skin back in a way that “pins” the ears closer to the skull to correct the infamous “Dumbo” appearance. When the surgery is complete, the ear or ears are bandaged and dressed to encourage proper healing and provide protection.
Recovery After Otoplasty
Most patients go home comfortably the day of surgery and are cared for by family. It is common to experience some post-surgery discomfort, which is often described as a feeling of tightness. You will be given specific instructions that include:
- How to care for the ears
- How and when to use the ear bandages
- Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection
- Specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health
- When to follow up with Dr. Antunes
The bandages placed after the surgery will be removed during a follow-up appointment the day after surgery. Post-procedure instructions usually include plenty of rest, fluids, and keeping the head elevated, which often means sleeping in a recliner or being significantly propped up in bed. Redness, tenderness, and swelling are common after cosmetic ear surgery, but should be short-lived. Dr. Antunes will normally see you several times during the first 2 weeks after surgery, and you will have direct access to him at all times. Because many questions arise over this initial period, Dr. Antunes believes setting up a series of appointments in advance alleviates anxiety about the recovery process. His core objective is to provide a safe, comfortable surgical experience that produces your desired results.
Otoplasty Recovery Timeline
While patient experiences vary, recovery generally progresses as follows:
- Bandage removal: Day 1
- Suture removal: Usually absorbable and do not need to be removed
- Return to work/social life: 1 week
- Return to exercise: 2 to 3 weeks (depending the type of activity)
- 75% healed: 3 to 4 weeks
- 100% healed: 6 months
Dr. Antunes takes great pride in helping adults and children improve their appearance and confidence with cosmetic ear surgery. Request a consultation using the online form to meet personally with Dr. Antunes to discuss your concerns. You can also call The Piazza Center at (512) 288-8200 to schedule an appointment.