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What do I do about prominent ears?

Posted June 06, 2016 in Uncategorized

Summer is a really busy time for a plastic surgery practice.  This is because many people have time off of work, school and social obligations.  One of the things we see commonly during the summer is parents who bring their kids in because their ears bother them.  Some people are born with ears that protrude more than others and this can be very stressful because of teasing and bullying.  It is really rewarding to see not only kids, but also adults have more confidence after ear pinning surgery (otoplasty).  If someone is considering ear pinning, the summer is a great time to do it because of the break in the school year.  Even with a big change that improves the person’s confidence substantially, kids grow and change so quickly, their friends may not even notice that they had surgery when they go back to school.

Why does this happen?

Ears may protrude because of a few different reasons.  Generally, it is developmental, so just the way that you are made.  Specifically, the conchal bowl, which is the circular, central portion may be large.  This results in a good shape of the lateral ear, but just placed further away from the scalp.

labeledear

The other possible reason is the antihelix isn’t as defined.  The anti helix is the raised portion just inside the rim and outside of the conchal bowl.  This results in a flatter appearance of the ear.  Also, the ear lobe may be further away from the scalp.  In some cases, two of the three or all three findings may be present. arrow ear

How is otoplasty (ear pinning) done?

Therefore, the approach to the ears is individualized to each person and the findings that are present.  To address any of the concerns above, the incision is made behind the ear, so that it is not visible.  The appropriate cartilage is reconfigured and held in place with sutures.  Then the incision is closed with sutures.  Most surgeons will have the patient wear a headband for a week or two, to hold the ears in place and protect them.  The ears can be tender for a few weeks as the cartilage heals.  With most things, the younger children tend to heal quicker than older children or adults.

When is a good age for ear pinning (otoplasty)?

It depends on the patient and the parents.  The most common time to do this is about age 5 or 6.  At this age, the ear is very close to the size that it will be as an adult, so ear surgery is safe.  The child is just starting to become aware of the ears and they are starting or are about to start school, so addressing them can help with their self esteem and avoid bullying.  Other people will decide to have this done later, which I have seen in almost every stage of life.  However, not everyone is concerned about prominent ears.  Surgery should not be rushed or pursued unless the person has concerns.  We should remember to embrace ourselves, similarities, differences and our own unique beauty.

prominent ear

In some people, this can be a life changing procedure that boosts confidence in every area of that person’s life!

Posted in: Uncategorized