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Children who are born with protruding ears often feel embarrassed about their appearance. Some are even bullied by their peers because of it. This can lead to low self-esteem and sometimes even psychological problems. Otoplasty, a plastic surgery procedure that can “pin” the ears back, can significantly improve the appearance of protruding ears.

What causes protruding ears? For the most part, genetics play a large role. Usually people that have protruding ears have others in the family that have them as well. The “cause” of this is generally because of a defect in the cartilage of the ear. It is very rare that one’s ears protrude because of an injury or accident.

It is never too late to undergo otoplasty surgery. People of all ages can have this surgery, including young children. Since the ears develop early, children can receive otoplasty as early as 5 years old. Each ear is different, even on the same person so the procedure depends on several factors, including the size of the ears, the degree of prominence, the location of the ear protrusion, the amount of cartilage involved and the lack of folding of cartilage.

The procedure is generally designed to bring the ears closer to the head. Adult patients usually have the procedure performed under local anesthesia. An incision may be made inside the ear and behind the ear. Through the incisions, excess cartilage is removed and natural folds are created with special suture techniques. The whole procedure takes about two hours. Bruising may occur after surgery, and recovery time usually takes a week or two.

During your consultation with Dr. Hiatt, you can discuss the details of otoplasty. He will help determine if this surgery is best for your individual needs and desires. If you would like additional information about otoplasty or would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Karl Hiatt, please contact our plastic surgery office in Mesa Arizona at (480) 844-1410.