Ears vary in size and shape and are often not symmetrical in size or degree of protrusion.
Ears that stick out more than 2 cm are generally considered to be prominent or protruding.
Protruding ears are caused by two factors. Firstly an under-development of the antihelical fold on the outer rim of the ear that normally folds the ear backwards, allowing the ear to curl and point outwards instead. Secondly most have a wider and deeper concha which is the bowl-shaped part of the ear next to the ear hole which pushes the entire ear away from the side of the head which is particularly noticeable when viewed from behind.
When discovered at birth the cartilage of the ears is soft and flexible for a period of 6-8 weeks while still under the influence of the maternal estrogens and there is a window of opportunity to pin back the ears with tape or ear moulding devices which may correct this.
Beyond this stage the correction is by a surgical procedure called an Otoplasty
Otoplasty (Oto = ear, plasty = shaping) is carried out in our procedure room painlessly under local anaesthetic, sometimes with mild sedation if preferred for extra comfort. There is no need for hospitalisation or for a general anaesthetic. Children (and adults if desired) can be distracted by watching their favourite programme on their phone or pad during the procedure!
Otoplasty can be performed from 5 or 6 years of age onwards, as the ears are properly developed by that stage.
The procedure is no longer an open procedure as it was in the past with incisions and removal of skin and cartilage, today that has all changed and is done without any incisions at all by using a keyhole approach. The procedure is carried out from the back of the ear and the only tell-tale signs (apart from any bruising or swelling) are some needle puncture marks that disappear after a few days. Both the antihelical fold and the concha are corrected to give the best results.
There is no bandaging and you can even drive home if you have not had any sedation.
You are required to wear a garment covering the ears at nights only for the first six weeks to protect the ears from being accidentally pulled forward when turning on your pillow.
There are many benefits, including:
If you're not sure what solution you'd like, you wish to talk about the best plan for your unique situation please contact us and we'll get back to you.