Otoplasty & Ear Pinning in San Antonio

Want to get ear surgery in San Antonio? Ear pinning or “otoplasty” is a cosmetic procedure performed to shape and position a misaligned or overly-prominent ear. Ear reconstruction is used in cases of birth defects, developmental abnormality, or from traumatic injury. Loss of the external ear also occurs due to cancer resection. If you are dissatisfied with the appearance of your ears, schedule a consultation with Dr. Barrera to address your concerns.

At what age is otoplasty or ear pinning surgery performed?

Otoplasty can be performed in infants at birth. By gently shaping the ears with a malleable splint, the ears can be conformed during the first 7 – 10 days of life. Most children undergo otoplasty at 5 to 6 years of age  prior to starting school. Otoplasty can be performed at any age. Adults also undergo otoplasty procedures to improve the size and symmetry of the external ears.


How is otoplasty and ear pinning surgery done?

Reshaping the external ear may require cartilage carving or Mustarde suture technique to shape the ear. The sutures are permanent and are used to create an antihelical fold. In addition, a conchal set back suture may also be used to reposition the ear. Pediatric patients may also benefirt from a incisionless technique. This minimally invasive approach to the ear reshapes the antihelical fold without making an incision in the skin. Certain birth deformities like cup or lop ears may require additional surgery in addition to traditional otoplasty technique. Patients born with an absent ear or have suffered trauma or burns to the external ear may benefit from microtia surgery. Microtia repair may use the sixth through eighth ribs to form a cartilagenous replacement for the ear. The newly formed ear is matched in size and shape to the normal opposite ear. Microtia surgery involves a three to four stage procedure to accomplish the goal of symmetry and formation of an external ear. The external ear, tragus, and lobule can all be reconstructed. Ear lobe tears from wearing ear rings and ear gauges can also be repaired. Patients who have suffered trauma or loss from a cancer resection can also benefit from microtia repair using rib cartilage to reform an absent or nearly absent external ear.

Why see Dr. Jose Barrera, MD, for otoplasty or ear pinning surgery?

San Antonio Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Jose Barrera, M.D., is triple board certified having earned certification in Otolaryngology and in the subspecialty of Sleep Medicine from the American Board of Otolaryngology as well as in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery from the American Board of Facial Plastic Surgery. Dr. Barrera completed his residency at the University of Colorado having trained at Denver Children’s Hospital in Otoplasty and ear pinning surgery as well as Stanford University in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.


Postoperative Instructions

Medication Should Be Taken As Directed:

  • Do not take aspirin or anti-coagulants for 2 weeks.
  • Prescription pain medication can cause nausea, vomiting & constipation. Take 1/2 a pill with food (NOT on an empty stomach) if needed. You may take another 1/2 pill in 20 minutes and up to 2 every 4 hours as needed for pain.


  • Should be minimal for the next 48 hours
  • Do not drive or engage in activities that depend on your coordination for 48 hours.

Wound Care:

  • Leave the head dressing on until your first post-op visit. If you are wearing the plastic cup dressing, remove it the next day and start wearing the headband.
  • Dressing will be replaced with headband, which should be worn for 2-3 weeks.
  • You may wash your hair with gentle shampoo after head dressing is removed.

Call if you experience:

  • Temperature greater than 101 degrees that cannot be controlled with Tylenol.
  • Increased pain not relieved by medication, especially if one side is much more painful than the other.
  • Increased bleeding through the dressing.