This procedure is most commonly performed for people with large protruding ears or prominent ears. Most people call this procedure "pinning back the ears." A few reasons why the ear may protrude include an overabundance of ear cartilage or lack of development of the folds of the ear. Interestingly, most people do not have perfectly symmetrical ears (or faces for that matter).
This procedure can be performed after age 6. After this age, the ear cartilage has reached sufficient size that surgery can be undertaken to ensure a lifelong result. This is also around the age when kids at school begin teasing others about their appearance. The procedure can be performed under intravenous sedation or general anesthesia.
The incision is made behind the ear. The ear is re-sculpted by using permanent stitches and manipulating the ear cartilage. A pressure dressing over the ears is placed for the first 1-2 days. The patient then must wear a headband when sleeping for the next several weeks to protect the ears. Bruising and swelling typically last about 2 weeks.
For additional information on this procedure from the American Academy of Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, go to: AAFPRS
EAR LOBE RECONSTRUCTION
The two most common ear lobe defects are either a complete cleft (this is a complete tear all the way through the edge of the ear lobe) or simply an enlarged ear piercing. Ear lobe clefts are common after earrings have pulled through the bottom of the ear lobe, leaving a gap. This defect can easily be repaired in the office under local anesthesia. Sutures are removed the following week. The ear may be re-pierced once the incision heals. Heavy earrings should not be worn immediately after.
The hole cannot simply be re-stitched because the skin has grown in between which prevents the edges of the hole from healing to one another.