Ear Pinning Surgery22nd February 2011
Ear PinningAdrian Richards, Leading Plastic Surgeon for Aurora Clinics explains the procedure of ear pinning otherwise known as Prominent Ear Correction.In this video he explains the possible complications and the likely recovery period. For more information please call Aurora Clinics on 01844 214362 and speak to one of our qualified Patient Advisors.
Ear Pinning Surgery
Hello. My name is Adrian Richards. Thank you very much for taking the time today to watch this video in which I’m going to be talking about the recovery period following prominent ear correction and the bandages used. So as I mentioned in the previous video about prominent ear correction, the operation will either be performed under local anaesthetic, twilight anaesthetic which is local anaesthetic with you a bit sleepy as well, or a full general anaesthetic, and that’s really your preference.
So following the operation, the surgeon will close the skin behind the ear with a stitch. I tend to use an absorbable stitch which doesn’t need to be removed. Other surgeons may use stitches which need to be removed. But you need to discuss whether they need to be removed or not with your surgeon.
The dressings are quite important following the prominent ear correction, and these are really used to hold the ear and just stabilise it while you sleep in the first few days following surgery. Now with the anterior scoring methods that we used to use, the anterior scoring method is best known as the Chong-Chet procedure. So that’s an older technique which some surgeons use. If they’re using that technique, it’s very important to keep pressure on the ear to prevent any blood collecting in the front of the ear. So in the older techniques, the dressings needed to be on for longer and they needed to be tighter and were more crucial to the outcome. With the more modern posterior approaches, the dressings aren’t quite as crucial as they were. So if you are having an anterior scoring technique, most surgeons would like the dressings on for a minimum of five days and probably seven days, and these dressings could either be a crepe bandage, bulky crepe bandage, around your head, or some surgeons will prefer a sort of velcro type cap to wear.
All surgeons vary. It’s not unusual for some people to like you to keep your dressings on for a week. I tend to use the posterior technique as I’ve previously discussed because I think it’s safer, and I’m not so insistent on how long the dressings stay intact because the dressings aren’t quite as crucial in this posterior technique. So I would sew the skin up at the back with an absorbable stitch and actually, funnily enough, glue the ear back using a tissue glue we use for cuts to glue the ear back just to the scalp like that so it’s sort of held there and that prevents the ear being sort of moved or dislodged in the early postoperative period. That glue basically separates after about a week, and the ear will then ping forward. I do like to use light dressings, but as I said they’re not so crucial for the outcome of the operation. So I like to use light dressings, and I normally like to keep them on for two to three days, just to sort of give a bit of stability to the ear in that initial period.
Following when the dressings are removed, most surgeons would like you to wear some sort of head bandage, either a crepe or just like a John McEnroe type tennis band, a sweat band around the ears just at night just to protect the ears, so if you turn at night it’s just to prevent you sort of flicking the ears at night. But, as I said, no dressings in the day after two or three days.
What complications can you get following the operation? Well, you’ve got to remember it’s an anaesthetic. If you decided the general anaesthetic route, there are potential problems with general anaesthetics. But modern anaesthetics, if you’re fit and healthy, are very, very safe. Local anaesthetic is probably safer, but obviously you’ve got to be prepared to lie for an hour while someone is operating on your ear, and actually the noise from an ear be quite disturbing for some people because it’s sort of magnified.
So complications, well, bleeding is always a risk, and that’s particularly important with the anterior scoring method because if you get any blood collecting between the skin and the gristly cartilage of the ear in the front, that can form a cauliflower ear like the rugby players get which is very, very difficult to treat. So bleeding is a possibility, and that’s normally characterised by discomfort within the dressing. So if you are having an anterior scoring technique and your ears become very uncomfortable, you need to have them checked before a week. So the dressing needs to be removed and your ears checked, because if any blood is collecting, it needs to be removed.
Infection of the ear is very uncommon, but it is potentially serious because if you get an infection in the gristly cartilage of the ear, it’s very difficult to eradicate because there’s very little blood supply to the cartilage and the antibodies are carried by the blood. So any area like bone, cartilage which doesn’t have a big blood supply, won’t get a lot of antibiotics and infections are difficult treat So if you do get any problems, you feel hot, cold, your ear feels uncomfortable, any problems like that, you need to let your surgeon know really very early so they can get antibiotics on board to help cure that.
The other main sort of medical complications, more longer complications would be dissatisfaction with the ear, maybe one not being quite back as much as the other, maybe one being slightly more prominent in the upper portion, or an earlobe being slightly more prominent. If you do get those, they’re normally relatively easy to correct with minor revision, and most surgeons will have a surgical package policy, whereas if you do need a minor tweak, minor modification within a year that should be at no cost to you. So if you are discussing with your surgeon, it’s important to be upfront and talk to them about if you do need a revision, are there going to be any costs associated with that?
So in summary, prominent ear corrections is a good operation. You need to consider whether it’s for you, whether you think your ears are bad enough, and you need to be as well informed as possible about operation. Different techniques are good to discuss with your surgeon and the recovery period.
So I hope that’s been helpful. Thank you very much for listening to this video. If you’d like any more information about prominent ear correction or any other topics I mentioned, please either contact us via e-mail at Aurora-Clinics.co.uk or by phoning us on 01844 214362. We do offer complimentary consultations with our surgeons, and we would love to see you if you feel that this procedure might be for you. Thanks very much for listening, and we look forward to seeing you soon.