Ideally ears are positioned close to the side of the head. Children with fly away ears often called ‘Dumbo ears’ easily begin to see the difference, between their ears and other childrens’ ears, as young as three to four years old. More often than not, hurtful remarks made by peers begin to scar children psychologically – as young as six years old. Adults who have lived with prominent ears may also be sensitive about their appearance and display it through poor self-image. Promin Auris (outstanding ears) is an inherited condition that affects about 5% of children today.
Candidate / Indication
Any child or adult who has protruding ears may be a good candidate for ear correction surgery. It is best if the child has reached six years of age, because by this age, the ear has achieved 90% of its adult size. An adult of any age, who is in good health, and has the desire to correct protruding ears, is usually a good candidate.
To reposition the ears, the surgeon will make an incision in the back of the ear to expose the cartilage. The cartilage is sculpted or folded as needed, and the final shape is secured with permanent stitches. In some cases, cartilage may be removed to give the ear a natural-looking fold. The ears will then appear closer to the head and more symmetrical with respect to the rest of the face.
Otoplasty can be performed using local or general anaesthesia. In many cases, children receive a general anaesthetic to sleep through the two to three hour long procedure. Older children and adults commonly receive local anaesthesia in combination with a sedative and remain awake during the procedure.
After surgery is complete, protruding ears are positioned closer to the head, which helps resolve the distracting appearance. During recovery from the surgery, you should limit activities in which the ears may be accidentally bent or moved. Bandages are placed around the head to hold the ears in their new position, and are switched to a light head dressing after a few days.
Most children can return to school after one week, and adults may return to work within five days. Consult your plastic surgeon for details specific to your surgery. Results are immediately evident once the bandages are removed.