Is this a viable alternative to getting my ears pinned?

I had my ears pinned about 20 years ago but it didn't take. I'm considering getting my antihelix pierced to hold my ears back. I hope this is an easy solution but I can't figure out why others aren't doing it. What is your opinion?

Doctor Answers 3

Pinning back the ears

Recreating the antihelical fold via a piercing and placement of a stud can help in some cases of prominent ears. Cartilage piercings do carry a risk of infection and cartilage necrosis. The stud will invariably create some pressure of the underlying skin that could lead to long term problems. A revision otoplasty should work just fine in most cases so you should look into it. Good luck.

Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Use or Piercing to tack back Prominent Ears

prominent ears are made up by a combination of features including a largely absent antihelix fold. IF the piercing goes under the fold in the exact spot and holds it together just like a cuff link and if it does not cause infection of the carriage then it should work in recreating the fold. ( if you look up Moustarde stitches they do the same thing). However this is not a conventional way to do things and may worsen matters if the carriage is weakened. 
Dr. Peter A. AldeaMemphis, TN

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Otoplasty vs piercing

It is difficult to recommend a specific treatment for you without photos or a thorough exam. That said, generally speaking, piercings are not a great idea for reshaping ears.  Most likely, your antihelix lacks a true fold because of the way the cartilage formed.  Simply bending the cartilage and piercing it in place does nothing to treat the underlying problem and would result in significant tension at the piercing site.  A piercing is a focal wound, and wounds under tension do not heal well and are prone to complications including erosion and scarring.  My guess is that things would be fine initially, but you would eventually have problems down the road. Also, to achieve a normal contour you would likely need to pierce at multiple locations along the antihelix. 
You bring up an interesting idea to address prominent ears but I think the best recommendation for long-term success would be a revision otoplasty. Good luck!

Justin Cohen, MD
Washington DC Otolaryngologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.