Protruding ears are the most frequent congenital deformity of the ear. The people affected often suffer from a major psychological strain that is aggravated by teasing at school. Ears are made to protrude by the auricle lacking a main fold, known as the anthelix. Occasionally there are also combined deformities involving other parts of the auricle as well. The purpose of an ear correction is to reshape the cartilage of the auricle and to reconstruct the missing fold. The opening is made with an incision behind the ear, the cartilage is exposed at the front, bent into the desired shape and then fixed in place with sutures. The skin is then sealed with a continuous suture. A padded dressing stabilizes the new shape and prevents secondary bleeding.
2 hours (two)
1 hour (one)
Generally local anaesthetic, general anaesthetic for children.
Out-patient, day-patient or in-patient for children.
The head dressing is worn constantly for a week after the ear correction, the sutures are removed after one week, after which the reshaped ears should be protected by a soft headband for a further two weeks. Adults can go without the headband during the day, but it is advisable for lively children to continue wearing the headband during the day. The skin over the auricle may be discoloured for 3-4 weeks; sensitivity to touch is occasionally reduced. Exposure to direct sunlight or the cold should be avoided during this time.
Secondary bleeding is rare with an ear correction (2%), as felt by increasing pain, or an infection in the wound or the ear cartilage, which slows the healing process. The skin above the ear cartilage occasionally suffers pressure damage, although this usually heals within a few weeks spontaneously. No two ears are the same, which means that asymmetries occasionally exist even after an ear correction. A keloid scar can form behind the ear in children in particular.
Work: 1 week (office). Physical exertion: 10-14 days. Avoiding exposure to strong sunlight or extreme cold: 6-8 weeks. The final result is generally achieved after 2-3 months.