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Pinnaplasty is the technical term for cosmetic ear surgery that is performed to correct the size and/or placement of ears that protrude from the head. Pinnaplasty can be performed on a healthy patient whose ears have finished growing. Because the ears are one of the first features to complete the growth process, patients as young as four or five years old may be appropriate candidates for pinnaplasty.
When pinnaplasty is performed by a qualified board certified plastic surgeon, the risk of complications from this procedure is very low. As with any surgical procedure, however, there is a low risk of some complications from pinnaplasty surgery. In rare cases a patient may develop an infection, a blood clot, minor loss of skin or sensation, excessive scarring, or asymmetry of the ears. These risks can all be minimized by a competent and experienced pinnaplasty plastic surgeon.
Because pinnaplasty is an elective procedure done for cosmetic reasons, most health care plans do not cover this surgery. While the cost of pinnaplasty is not typically covered by insurance, most surgeons will offer payment options to patients in order to make the procedure financially feasible. In 2003, the average cost of pinnaplasty surgery was $2,762 in the United States. This average does not include the cost of anesthesia, operating room fees, medications, after care supplies, and things of this nature. Pinnaplasty costs can vary considerably depending on the nature of the procedure, the surgeon, and the geographical location.
When considering pinnaplasty, it is important to have a good understanding of what the procedure and the recovery process will be like. The procedure itself is performed on an outpatient basis, allowing a patient to return home after the anesthesia has worn off. Pinnaplasty can be done with a local anesthesia plus a sedative or a general anesthesia. The latter is typically preferred for younger patients so that they can simply sleep through the procedure without feeling any discomfort or fear.
The surgery takes one to two hours to complete, during which time the doctor will make a small incision at the fold behind the ear. Through this incision the pinnaplasty surgeon will reshape the cartilage of the ear. S/he may even cut away excess cartilage or skin if necessary and pin the remaining structures into place. The incision will then be stitched up. The proper dressings will then be used to cover the surgery site and insure proper healing.
These dressings will be worn for the first days after pinnaplasty surgery as directed by the surgeon. The patient will typically experience some discomfort and swelling after a pinnaplasty procedure. The surgeon will provide a patient with complete instructions for post-surgical care. These should be followed to avoid complications like infection and delayed healing.
If you would like to learn more about pinnaplasty ear surgery, please contact us to speak with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon in your area.