Prominent Ear Correction (Pinnaplasty or Otoplasty)
Prominent ears occur in approximately 1-2% of the population in the UK. One or both ears can be affected and it often runs in families. Ears are usually prominent because they lack the normal fold of cartilage at the top of the ear. Children (and adults) with prominent ears are often teased about their appearance resulting in low self esteem and lack of confidence.
In a baby, prominent ears can be successfully corrected by external splints, which mould the cartilage of the ear into the normal shape, but unfortunately this only works in the first 6 months of life. After this, prominent ears can only be corrected by a prominent ear correction operation called an otoplasty (pinnaplasty). This operation takes 1 hour to perform can be performed under a local anaesthetic for older children and adults or a general anaesthetic for younger children. It would be very unusual to perform the surgery on children under the age of 7. The procedure is usually done as a day case. The operative techniques vary depending on the individual need, but essentially comprises an excision of skin on the back of the ear, and from this access, the cartilage of the top of the ear is folded back and held in place with permanent stitches which are buried under the skin. The wound is then closed with dissolving stitches and covered with a head bandage.
This is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures and has high patient satisfaction and low complication rate.