Prominent ear correction
Approximately 1 to 2% of the population in the United Kingdom considers their ears to be too prominent. In many cases the shape and lie of the ears is inherited, and a family trend can be seen. The most prominent ears often lack a normal fold, and sometimes one ear is more prominent than the other.
Most cases of prominent ears become a problem in early childhood, often relating to teasing at school. Mr Wilson advises that surgery for prominent ears is not undertaken until the child is old enough to understand what the surgery involves. At this stage the child is more likely to be cooperative and happy with the outcome. For this reason, and because ear cartilage is often soft in the early years, operations for prominent ears are rarely performed on children under the age of five.
Pinnaplasty or Otoplasty is an operation, which adjusts the shape of the cartilage within the ear to create the missing folds and to allow the ear to lie closer to the side of the head. Because the operation is carried out from behind the ears, a small scar is left close to the groove between the ear and the side of the head. The procedure can be carried out under local anaesthetic, but in young children a general anaesthetic is usually required.
What are the consequences?
A large bulky protective dressing is usually worn after the surgery until the wound is checked a week after surgery. Once the dressing has been discarded, it is wise to wear a protective headband or bandage when sleeping to avoid the ears being bent forward against the pillow. The scar behind the ear usually settles well, but on rare occasions it can become red and lumpy. A small number of patients, particularly those who are very sensitive about the precise shape of their ears, may require a minor adjustment procedure. The vast majority of patients, however, are pleased by the result, and the procedure has a high satisfaction rate.