Before the procedure, discuss with your surgeon what to expect from the surgery. Your surgeon will review your medical history, and ask about any medical conditions you may have and any medications, supplements or herbs you may be taking.
Your surgeon will recommend that you stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners or NSAIDs, at least three weeks prior to surgery. You may also need to get certain lab tests before your procedure.
Any ear that is obviously noticeable and projecting out is called a Prominent ear. The ears are usually around 2 centimetres from the side of the head. The outer ear is usually at an angle of about 21–30 degrees to the side of the head. If the angle is more than 30 degrees, the ears will appear to “stick out.”
This can happen if genetic features or health conditions affect cartilage growth, or if an injury affects the shape of the ears Prominent ears may run in families, but they often occur randomly. Any of these factors can affect one or both ears. However, having prominent ears should not affect a person’s hearing.
Around 30% of children with prominent ears have ears that appear normal at birth but then start to change shape in the first 3 months of life.
Treatment of Prominent Ear
Treatment is not always necessary in young infants and young children. Some irregularities will resolve without intervention.
A suitable time to have an otoplasty is when a child is 5–6 years old and 90% of their ears’ growth is complete. This is the earliest recommended age. However, a person can undergo treatment at any age after this. A Person may undergo an otoplasty, a corrective surgery of the ear, to reshape the ear.
Various techniques can reduce the prominence of the ears.
Ear moulding or splinting
A nonsurgical technique known as ear moulding or splinting can be effective if the child starts receiving treatment in the first 2–3 weeks of life. This is a safe, simple procedure that is suitable for infants. This is when the cartilage in the ears is at its softest and malleable. By the time the infant is 6–7 weeks old, the cartilage begins to stiffen.
During this procedure, the surgeon will use a splint to reshape the soft cartilage. The splint supports the ear and keeps it in a new position.
Different types of splints are available. They are made of soft, elastic, mouldable material., Parents and caregivers should leave the splint in place 24 hours per day and take the child to the doctor for regular check-ups. The infant may need to wear the splint for a few weeks to a few months.
After 6 months, the cartilage in the ear will become too hard for remodelling with splints. After this point, surgery will be the only treatment option.
A plastic surgeon will usually carry out an otoplasty.
The surgeon will use a general anaesthetic for a child and a local anaesthetic for an adult. They will then make an incision behind the ear and apply stitches, which may be permanent, to hold back the outer ear or to create the appropriate grooves in the ear. In some cases of excess cartilage causing the prominent ear, they may remove some cartilage. The procedure will take around 1–2 hours. The incision will leave a thin scar, but this is behind the ear and less noticeable and in most patients fade over time.