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The Complete Guide to Ear Pinning: Benefits, Risks and Cost

What is Ear Pinning?

A type of ear correction surgery, also known as Otoplasty, ear pinning is a procedure that corrects deformities of the external ear.  This surgery can be performed on individuals who have had an accident and now have a deformed externality of their ear or ear cartilage, but more commonly is selected to be performed as a cosmetic, elective procedure.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Ear Pinning? 

Individuals choosing to undergo ear pinning surgery typically complain of feeling as if their ears are too big for the head, their ears stick out too far, or there appears to be a lot of space between the ear and the side of the head.  Anybody with prominent ears can be a potential candidate for this procedure.

Choosing to undergo otoplasty surgery involves various ear reshaping procedures, depending on the patient’s circumstances.  The most popular selection is to bring the ears closer to the head, or in some cases make the ear smaller via surgical reconstruction. This surgery can be performed on children as young as five, and all the way into adulthood.

Some Pros and Cons of Ear Pinning

While ear pinning is a great solution for many people unsatisfied with their ear shape or size, it is important to consider the pros and cons of the surgical procedure to get a better idea of whether or not it is right for you.

The Benefits of Ear Pinning

  • A cosmetic ear surgery can be a successful way to decrease your insecurity or lack of self-confidence around your ears and overall body appearance.
  • For most people the procedure is non-invasive, with minimal recovery time and does not end up producing a huge disruption to everyday life.  You may experience some pain and discomfort after the surgery, but this can typically be alleviated with traditional pain medications.


Like any surgery, the otoplasty procedure is not without its risks. In particular for Otoplasty, patients can be left with numbness or sensitivity in the ear area, or the ears can return to their original position if the sutures get broken.

Other Considerations About Ear Pinning:

  • Having ear pinning surgery doesn’t necessarily mean your overall appearance will be altered – you may not even notice a difference after completion
  • Both ears are altered to maintain balance across the facial profile, even if it is only one ear that you feel is needing to be pinned
  • The ear pinning procedure is typically not covered by insurance and can be a costly out of pocket expense (up to $6,000).

Expectations and Understanding the Procedure

As part of your guide to ear pinning, it is important for you to have a good understanding of what you can expect from the surgery, both during and after the procedure, as well as some associated risks.  You can expect the surgery to last about an hour, depending on the amount of work you are having done, and it is generally an outpatient procedure, meaning you can go home the same day. Patients are placed under general anesthesia, so this is something to consider when you are planning for your procedure and for the time afterwards. You might need someone to drive you home.

How to Prepare for Your Ear Pinning Cosmetic Surgery?

First, consult with a qualified plastic surgeon in your area to discuss your goals and expectations and follow any pre-operative instructions, which may include avoiding certain medications and supplements that can increase the risk of bleeding. The doctor will also review your medical history, such as allergies, previous surgeries and health issues.


After the surgery, it is important to follow any of the doctor’s suggestions, such as wearing a headband for a certain number of hours each day to help train the ears in their new position. Likewise, it is important to know that you will need to sleep on your back for up to two weeks after the surgery and you can expect swelling and bruising to appear and disappear within a few days of surgery.  Because nerve endings are cut, and nerves will need to be regenerated, you may experience itching or tingling. Aside from a few lingering minor discomforts, you can expect to be back to normal activities within three weeks.

If you think ear pinning is right for you, or have further questions regarding the procedure, request a personal consultation with our board-certified plastic surgeon at the Royal Centre of Plastic Surgery in Barrie. (We are located 40 minutes north of Toronto).