Patients undergo otoplasty or “ear pinning” to reduce the size of large ears or have prominent ears “pinned back” closer to the head.

Most otoplasty procedures are performed on children between 5 and 14 years of age. Generally our ears are nearly fully developed by the age of five, allowing for the surgery to be performed.

Ear surgery can also be performed to reshape adult ears.

View our Frequently Asked Questions below to find out more about otoplasty.

Frequently Asked Questions

Otoplasty offers benefits to individuals of most any age. Generally our ears are nearly fully developed by the age of five, allowing for the surgery to be performed from this age onward.

Good candidates for an otoplasty include healthy individuals with any of the following issues:

– Prominent ears
– Disproportionately large shape
– Ears that protrude too far from the face

A personal consultation with your surgeon is the first step for any patient considering otoplasty. Dr McHugh will assess your physical and emotional health, discuss your aesthetic goals, and address any questions or concerns you may have.

Issues you should be prepared to discuss during consultation with Dr McHugh include:

– Medical conditions, both past and present
– Current medications, including nutritional supplements and herbal remedies
– Past surgeries

Dr McHugh may also photograph you for your medical record. Clear communication with Dr McHugh about your aesthetic goals is essential at this time.

Information relating to surgical and other fees will be provided on the day of consultation.

Dr McHugh makes a small incision in the back of the ear to expose the ear cartilage. He will then sculpt the cartilage and bend it back toward the head. Non-removable stitches may be used to help maintain the new shape. Occasionally, he will remove a larger piece of cartilage to provide a more natural-looking fold when the surgery is complete.

Another technique involves a similar incision in the back of the ear. Skin is removed and stitches are used to fold the cartilage back on itself to reshape the ear without removing cartilage.

Though thousands of people undergo otoplasties each year and experience no major complications, the procedure does carry some degree of risk. It is important you be well informed of these risks when considering an otoplasty.

The discussion of potential risks and complications is one of the most important aspects of patient consultation. During your consultation, Dr McHugh will discuss these potential complications with you, listen to your safety questions, and offer recommendations on how to minimise your risk.

It is important to follow Dr McHugh’s instructions when preparing for surgery to ensure the best possible results. Those instructions may include:

– Refraining from smoking for several weeks before and after surgery
– Avoiding certain medications
– Arranging for help following surgery, such as a ride home and in-home care for the first 24 hours

For your comfort and convenience, Dr McHugh operates either in his clinic under local anaesthetic with intravenous sedation or under general anaesthetic at various private hospitals.

He will carefully monitor your physical status throughout the operation and during your recovery.

If you went into otoplasty with realistic expectations, you’ll most likely be very pleased with your results.

In most cases, the surgery will leave a faint scar in the back of the ear that will fade in time.

Surgery is typically performed on both ears for a better balance, even when only one ear appears to protrude.

Follow-up visits are important to answer any questions you may have and monitor your healing process.

Your first post-operative visit will be scheduled after the initial healing period, during the first few days after surgery.

In the following months, Dr McHugh may ask you to return for periodic checkups.

Keeping these appointments is important to assessing your long-term results and address any questions or concerns you may have.

Dr John McHugh plastic surgeon
About Dr McHugh

Dr John McHugh is Australia's only surgeon qualified in both Maxillofacial and Cosmetic surgery.

His dual specialisations enable him to deliver excellence in surgical results, with an eye for aesthetic beauty.

With over 20 years of experience as a surgeon in the private sector and performing international aid work as a Surgeon Commander with the Royal Australian Navy, you can have confidence that Dr McHugh is uniquely qualified and trusted to deliver the results you seek.