What are prominent ears?
These are protruding ears and may be cosmetically unsightly. One or both ears may be affected. Prominent ears may result in teasing at school or socially and can be very emotionally disturbing for those children, and sometimes adults, affected.
Why is your ear prominent?
The assessment of prominent ears is critical in ensuring that the right treatment is provided. Treatment is usually surgical and after the age of 6, when the helix (outer ear) has reached its adult size. Abnormalities can be due to underdevelopment of the normal folds in the cartilage, excessive deepness of the bowl area, or a very large earlobe. The abnormality causing the prominent ear may be one or a combination of these problems.
What does treatment involve?
Usually surgery. Headbands and pressure are not effective as the ear cartilage has 'memory' - ie. it pings back into position. A variety of surgical techniques exist to correct the deformities described. Surgery will give a scar, but this is hidden behind the ear and so is not visible. The procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic and as a day case. When you wake up from the anaesthetic you will have a large bandage on your head. This stays on for 7 to 10 days after surgery. Once the bandage and dressings are removed in clinic, I will ask you to wear a towel headband (like tennis players wear) over your ears day and night for a week, and then only at night for a further week. This is to prevent you from bending your ear too early, which would put your stitching and surgery at risk.
What are the risks of surgery?
Bleeding (minimal), infection, excessive or exuberant scarring and, if both ears are corrected, achieving two identically positioned ears is practically impossible.
What should you do next?