Dr. Tilman Stasch
Vitality Fountain Clinic
Suite 6B – GROSVENOR
+254 725 045 705
+254 714 144 000
Prominent ears are common. 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 occasionally one ear is more prominent than the other. Children with prominent ears are sometimes teased, particularly during their school years, and this can lead to a loss of self-confidence.
If protruding or disﬁgured ears bother you or your child, you may consider plastic surgery. Ear correction surgery — also known as otoplasty — can improve the shape, position or proportion of the ear. It can correct a defect in the ear structure that is present at birth that becomes apparent with development or it can treat misshapen ears caused by injury. Ear surgery creates a natural shape, while bringing balance and proportion to the ears and face. Correction of even minor deformities can have profound beneﬁts to appearance and self-esteem.
Within the first few weeks of life:
When an ear is noted to be prominent, it is possible to reshape it by applying a small splint to the rim (e.g. „ear buddy“). The cartilage of a new-born’s ear is very floppy and easily remoulded and after several weeks of splintage a permanent correction can be achieved. By the age of six months the cartilage is too hard to be remoulded and a surgical solution is required.
Children who are good candidates for ear surgery are:
Teenagers and adults who are good candidates for ear surgery are:
During the consultation, you will be asked what results should be achieved from otopexy. This will help your surgeon understand your expectations and determine whether they can be realistically achieved.
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 in adults, but in young children a general anaesthetic is usually required. Where the lobe of the ear or bowel (concha) is especially large, a small procedure to reduce its size may also be required.
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.
It is recommended that although parents may feel that their child’s ears should be corrected to avoid teasing and stigmatisation it is best to wait until the child recognises the problem and wants the ears corrected. Children are generally more co-operative and happy with the outcome when they fully understand why the surgery is taking place. Pinnaplasty is also performed during the teenage years and in adult life, when either a local or general anaesthetic can be used.
Ear surgery offers almost immediate results in cases of protruding ears, visible when the dressings that support the new shape of the ear during initial phases of healing are removed. With the ear permanently positioned closer to the head, surgical scars are either hidden behind the ear or well hidden within the natural creases of the ear. The results of the otoplasty surgery are permanent. In later years, it is almost never apparent that the surgery has taken place. There is a small risk that the repair may not hold properly, and further adjustment surgery is occasionally required. This would usually become apparent within a year of the surgery.
Whilst these operations are generally safe in the hands of a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon and regarded to be highly successful, there are, as with any operation, risks involved and the possibility of complications that patients need to consider.
In children the operation is carried out under general anaesthetic, and this carries with it a very small risk. In a small number of patients (approximately 3%) the scars can become thick and red, and may require further treatment. Bruising and swelling is very common and will settle within two weeks. Infection is not common, but should this occur it would require treatment with antibiotics and regular dressing changes. Sometimes the dressing can chafe the ears to produce a break in the skin which can take a long time to heal. The ears are often a little numb after the procedure, and this usually takes several weeks to settle.
Smokers are strongly advised to discontinue smoking several weeks prior to surgery and after the operation, as smoking increases the risks of complications and delays wound healing by altering blood circulation in the skin. You can reduce your risks of complications by closely following our instructions before and after the surgery.
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