THIS COMMON CONDITION IS CAUSED BY ABNORMAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE EAR WHILE IN THE WOMB, AND CAN BE CORRECTED THROUGH A SURGICAL PROCEDURE CALLED “OTOPLASTY”.
Highly prominent, large ears are a common concern amongst male patients. This common condition is caused by abnormal development of the ear while in the womb, and can be corrected through a surgical procedure called “otoplasty”.
The shape of the ear is created by the cartilage that provides the stiffness and framework for the overlying skin. In prominent ears this cartilage fails to fold back and create the “anti-helical fold” thereby leaving ears prominent.
Surgical correction of prominent ears can be performed at any age. Young children generally do not become aware of the appearance of their ears until they commence primary school, and this is when teasing can sometimes occur. Surgery on children is usually recommended after the age of 6 years (when the child requests correction), and is commonly performed on teenagers and adults.
“Pinning” of the ear or simply removing skin from the back of the ear does not correct the deformity. An otoplasty involves an incision at the back of the ear to allow access to the cartilage, which is then modified, either with multiple shallow cuts (scoring) or with internal sutures, to make the cartilage fold back. It is important that this is a natural smooth fold rather than a sharp crease. Occasionally some cartilage is removed from the bowl of the ear (conchal fossa reduction) to allow the entire ear to sit back. 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:
- Improvement of confidence and self-esteem;
- Little to no visible scarring;
- Improved facial proportions;
- Enhanced overall appearance;
- Natural-looking results.
The procedure is performed in hospital, usually under a general anaesthetic and can be performed as a day surgical procedure. Males will normally be discharged in a head bandage which must be left on for about a week. Local anaesthetic is injected at the time of surgery which keeps the ears comfortable for several hours. Post operatively there is mild discomfort which is easily controlled with simple oral medication.
Once the bandages are removed the ears will need to be treated with care for a couple of 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, and this may take several weeks to “settle down”.
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.