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Prominent or “bat ears” are a common condition caused by lack of normal development of the ear while in the womb. Surgical correction of prominent ears is known as Otoplasty.
The shape of the ear is created by the cartilage providing a stiffness and framework for the overlying skin. In prominent ears this cartilage has failed to fold back and create an “anti-helical fold” leaving the ears more prominent than usual.
Surgical correction of prominent ears can be performed at any age, however surgery on children is usually recommended after the age of six, when the child has commenced primary school and has become aware of the appearance of their ears. Otoplasty is commonly performed on teenagers and adults whose self esteem can affected by their condition.
Pinning of the ear or simply removing skin from the back of the ear does not correct the deformity. Otoplasty surgery involves an incision being made at the back of the ear to allow access to the cartilage, which is then modified by either with multiple shallow cuts (scoring) or internal sutures, enabling the cartilage to fold back in a natural smooth manner. Occasionally some cartilage will be required to be removed from the bowl of the ear (conchal fossa reduction) to allow the entire ear to sit back and in this way the ear achieves a natural appearance and the scar is hidden at the back of the ear.
Some of the benefits of Otoplasty surgery include:
- May improve confidence and self-esteem
- Improved facial proportions
- Enhanced overall appearance
- Natural-looking results
- Little to no visible scarring
The procedure is performed in hospital under a General Anaesthetic as a day surgery. The patient will normally be discharged in a head bandage which must be left in place for approximately 1 week. Local anaesthetic is injected at the time of surgery which keeps the ears comfortable for several hours. Post operatively there is some mild discomfort which is easily controlled with simple oral pain relief medication.
Once the bandages are removed, the ears will need to be treated with care for approximately 2 weeks and most patients are instructed to sleep with a wide headband over their ears for a week. It is natural for the ears to be slightly bruised and swollen after surgery and this may take several weeks to subside.
If you are self-conscious about your prominent ears and would like to learn more about Otoplasty surgery, please contact us today to book a consultation with one of our Surgeons.