Some people consider 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. People with prominent ears are sometimes teased, particularly during their school years, and this can lead to a loss of self confidence.
What can be done?
When an ear is noted to be prominent within the first few weeks of life, it is possible to reshape it by applying a small splint to the rim. The cartilage or gristle of a new-born’s ear is very floppy and easily remoulded and after several weeks of splintage a permanent correction can be achieved. The older the child, the more stiff is the cartilage and the longer the period of splintage must be. By the age of six months the cartilage is too hard to be remoulded and a surgical solution is required.
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. Where the lobe of the ear is especially large, a small procedure to reduce its size may also be required.
An incision line is made behind the ear close to the grove between the ear and the side of the head.
What are the Consequences?
A small protective dressing is usually worn after the surgery until the stitches are removed at between 5-10 days after surgery. Once the dressing has been discarded, it is wise to wear a protective head-band or bandage when sleeping to avoid the ears being bent forward against the pillow. The ears are often sore and tender for several weeks and painkilling medication such as Paracetamol or Codeine may be required. Other drugs such as Aspirin or Nurofen can occasionally cause unwanted bleeding following the surgery and should be avoided. 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 well pleased by the result, and the procedure has a high satisfaction rate.
What you should do after the Operation?
The hair can be washed after the dressing and the stitches have been removed. It is important to keep the grooves behind the ears clean. The ears are often a little numb after the procedure, and this usually takes several weeks to settle. In a small number of patients (approximately 3%) the scars can become thick and red, and may require further treatment.
The aim of this article is to give you a general information about the surgical intervention in question. You need to make more research about possible complications and risks of this selected procedure in order to make an informed decision. Please note that complications occur more frequently with patients who are obese, smoke, and have a history or lung or other chronic underlying medical conditions.
Smokers are recognized to have a significantly higher risk of post operative wound healing problems with a subsequently higher potential of infection as well as operative and post operative bleeding. Patients should discontinue smoking for two weeks before and two weeks after surgery. Although it helps to stop smoking before and after surgery, this does not completely eliminate the increased risks resulting from long term smoking. Smoking also has a long term adverse effect on the skin and ageing process.