Correction of Prominent Ears (Otoplasty)

Some children and adults have one or both ears that are “stick out” more than normal. This can be the source of considerable teasing or embarrassment.

This condition can be corrected surgically. The commonest cause for prominent ears is a lack of folding of the cartilage (gristle) of the ear.

Otoplasty consultation

involves assessing the ears and the cause of the problem. In dealing with children the timing of the surgery is very important and needs to be discussed. Otoplasty is not usually performed before 4 years of age. Some parents prefer to have their child’s ear corrected before they enter school.

Otoplasty surgery

requires a general anaesthetic for children but can be done under local anaesthetic in adults. The procedure involves removing some skin on the back of the ear and remoulding the cartilage (gristle) of the ear. The surgery takes approximately 2 hours. After the surgery a bulky bandage is placed around the ears and head and under the chin. The patient usually goes home the same day.

After surgery

the bandage stays in place for 1 week. Pain relief is given as tablets or syrup. By day 3 after surgery the patient is usually comfortable. The patient is encouraged to sleep with their head supported by at least 2 pillows. Once the bandage is removed the ears are still quite bruised and this lasts for a further week. The patient is instructed to wear an elastic bandage around the ears at night for a week to prevent the ears being rubbed.