What Can be Done To Make The Initial Ear Pinning Surgery Look Better?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am wondering if you could help.My son had ear pinning one year ago. I was not happy with the results straight away, however, the surgeon told me it was impossible to undo the surgery as it would require a rib cartilage to be inserted into my son’s ears and would be too risky.

I would greatly appreciate if you could kindly look at the images attached and advise if there are any procedures that seem to be possible and what the doctor thinks requires to be done esthetically.The top of the ears look like they are glued to the head, the middle is parallel to his head and the bottom part of the ears is very prominent. The ears lack any nice shape.

Would pinning the bottom of the ears correct the overall look of the ears or is it the top part that is required to be corrected to be more prominent?

I am supporting my son and I am telling him how beautiful his ears are after the surgery. He has raised his concerns, but I do not want to book a consultation first as I will prove to him that the surgery did go wrong and that his ears do not look nice. I would like to know first if the doctor believes that there are options to correct the ears, as the last thing I want is to tell him that his ears do need to be corrected and then find it is impossible to do. This would devastate him as he has gone through a lot after the surgery.

I would be very grateful if you could have a look at my son’s photos and advise.

A: The reason his postop ears look like they do is that bottom third of the ear (earlobes) remains unchanged from the surgery. Only the cartilage containing part of the ear (upper 2/3s) has been setback while the earlobes remain protrusive. This is a common surgical oversight. Many otoplasties needs a soft tissue earlobe setback to look harmonious along the helical rim .

This is what I anatomically see. Whether that is his exact concern or whether he is having trouble adjusting to the overall change (missing his old ears) I can obviously not say.

Dr. Barry Eppley

World-Renowned Plastic Surgeon