Dear doctor, my ears stick out which has made me very self-conscious from an early age. What are my treatment options?

06 November 2018

My ears stick out which has made me very self-conscious ever since I was teased at school. I’m 25 now and still unhappy with their appearance. What are my treatment options?

Many females with protruding ears have never had short hair or worn their hair up, and many males have endured years of teasing and unwanted comments.

For a lot of people having the protruding ears corrected can be life changing by boosting self-confidence and self-esteem. The standard ear correction surgery (pinnaplasty or otoplasty) is a well-established and effective operation which takes a couple of hours and usually requires a general anaesthetic. A bandage is required over the ears for a few days. It can be performed as a day case and at least a week off work is advised.

There is now a new technique to correct protruding ears called the Earfold®. The Earfold® operation is designed for those people whose ears are prominent due to the cartilage of the ear missing an important fold. The operation involves the insertion of a tiny U shaped clip under the skin of the ear. The clip creates the missing fold in the cartilage and corrects the protrusion. As part of the assessment process the clip can be placed on the outside of the skin to give a reasonable idea of the effect of the operation. The operation itself is quick and takes about 10-15 minutes per clip and is performed under a local anaesthetic. The patient can return to work the next day but the ear may be bruised for 10-14 days. Great care has to be taken not to dislodge the clips in the weeks following the operation.

The Earfold® can be performed on just one ear or both and anything from one to four clips may be required. Although not suitable for everyone, this treatment is an effective alternative to the standard pinnaplasty operation for many patients.

Find out more about Mr Michael Pringle, Consultant ENT Surgeon practising at Spire Portsmouth Hospital.

 

The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.

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