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Prominent Ear Correction

The ear has a unique shape due to the presence of elastic cartilage. The shape of the ear is maintained by the balance of forces in the elastic fibres of the cartilage.

In some people the ears are more prominent than normal and is considered abnormal either because the ear is too far out from the side of the head or it lacks the normal fold close to the outer rim.

The prominence of the ear can be corrected by operating on the cartilage and causing it to bend backwards or removing a small piece of cartilage to decrease the protrusion of the ear from the side of the head.

Why do people seek correction of prominent ears?

Prominent ears are a source of embarrassment as they attract unwelcome attention and can often be the cause of children being bullied or called names at school. Children and adults are equally self-conscious about prominent ears and quite often wear their hair long to keep them covered. Patients refuse to participate in sport, swimming or ballet as the ears become visible when the hair is tied up or gets wet. This can quite often result in problems at school and lack of confidence in the work and social environment.

When can surgery for prominent ears be undertaken?

The ear does not reach its adult size until approximately six to seven years of age. Except in unusual circumstances it is advisable to wait until this age to carry out the procedure.

What does surgery for prominent ears involve?

Surgery can be carried out either under general anaesthetic or under local anaesthetic with sedation. An incision is made on the posterior aspect of the ear and a small ellipse of skin is removed. The ear cartilage is exposed and either scored to cause it to bend or a small piece of cartilage is removed to set the ear back and make it more natural in appearance. Dissolving sutures are used to close the skin behind the ear. A dressing with cotton wool and a head bandage is applied.

What is the normal postoperative course following prominent ear correction?

The head bandage stays on for approximately one week after the operation. An outpatient appointment is made for the bandage to be removed after a week. When the bandage is taken off the ears will appear bruised and swollen but this tends to settle in approximately a fortnight. Patients can shower and wash their hair normally once the head bandage has been removed. A soft elasticated headband must be worn at night in order not to catch the ears on the pillow while asleep. Contact sport is not allowed for four weeks following the operation.

What are the potential complications of this procedure?

Like any other operation, surgery for prominent ear correction can have complications such as bleeding, haematoma (blood clot on the skin), infection and the scar behind the ear which can be red, raised, lumpy and tender.

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I would like to say that my whole experience with Mr Sood and the Hartswood Hospital before and after my procedure was excellent. I felt safe and relaxed throughout.

Barbara S

Sincere thanks go to all patients that grant their permissions for us to display their photographs.

Prominent Ear Correction

Prominent Ear Correction

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