What ear deformities and irregularities can be treated by the ENT surgeon?
There are many situations where a cosmetic procedure may be required to improve the appearance of the ear (s). These include: congenital ear malformations, prominent ear deformity, injury, burn and tumour related deformities.
What is the most common type of deformity or irregularity?
The most common irregularity is the prominent ear.
What causes prominent ears in children?
In most individuals, prominent ears are an isolated malformation. It is not uncommon to find out that one of the parents has had a similar problem earlier in his/her life.
When is an ear considered prominent?
This is a more difficult question to answer. In some patients, the malformation is obvious. In others, the deformity may be minimal but may be the source of peer torment and eventually, psychological problems. The shape of the face/head and short hair (in boys) may amplify the problem. Again, the psychological impact of the malformation must be assessed and should be taken into account when dealing with a rather minor malformation.
Can you tell me more about the required surgery?
There are no two identical cases! The malformation may be located within the Y – shaped anthelix where the normal fold of the ear is absent or simply not accentuated enough. The problem may be an excessive depth of the central “bowl” of the ear (concha). In many cases, it can be a combination of these two anomalies. The surgeon will address all the conditions that need to be corrected. There are a multitude of techniques available to do so.
The surgery normally requires approximately 45 minutes for each ear. It can be done under local or general anaesthesia, depending on the age and cooperation of the patient. There is a head bandage for a few days and your ENT surgeon will tell you when to come back to have it removed. Most surgeons recommend some kind of protection especially at night after the initial bandage is removed. Physical exercise is usually forbidden for some time after the procedure and individuals should avoid aspirin and other anticoagulant drugs.
Is there another solution to prominent ears?
Increasingly, there are reports in the medical literature of cases successfully treated by splints (dental, tape or others) applied early in life. These techniques have not gained wide acceptance because of the time required to obtain results, the difficulties inherent to the method and the complications that are still possible.