Prominent ear correction
The underlying cartilage in the ear (the rubbery
skeleton of the ear) is reshaped using specially-placed internal
stitches via an incision in the crease at the back of the ear. The
reshaping of the cartilage corrects the prominence of the ear (it
is nothing to do with tightening the skin behind the ear).
Photographs above: these show the before and
after views of a patient Mr Pacifico has operated on. Note the
natural appearance of the patient's ears following surgery and the
avoidance of any sharp angles. Good symmetry has been achieved as
well as an "unoperated-on" look.
What does it involve?
The procedure is either done under a local (with
you awake) or a general anaesthetic (with you asleep) as a day case
(in and out of hospital in the same day). You should not drive on
the day of surgery (if an adult).
What are the benefits?
This is a reliable and safe operation that will
give you a permanent correction of your prominent ears.
How long does the surgery take?
The operation takes about 90-minutes (for two
What is the recovery period?
You will need to wear a bandage or a headband (like
a tennis player's sweat band) 24-hours a day for the week following
surgery. After that, you will need to wear a headband at night for
6-weeks, to make sure your ears don't bend the wrong way when you
are asleep. Ideally, you should bring a headband with you to
hospital so it can be put on you at the time of your operation. It
is best if this is a dark colour as there may be a little blood
that can appear on it, which would be more obvious on a white
How long before daily activities may be
You should avoid all physical activity for 6-weeks
following the surgery to prevent damage to your new ears. Contact
sports should be avoided for at least 8-weeks.
What are the success rates?
This technique is very reliable and safe. However,
there is a reported recurrence rate of up to 10% - this means that
for every 10 ears that are corrected, 1 may "ping" back. This may
be due to the stitches snapping as a result of your ear being
knocked, or from infection or bleeding in the ear afterwards. If
this happens, the operation can be redone at a later date.
Patient of Mr
Pacifico's who underwent a bilateral otoplasty under local
anaesthetic. Note the natural appearance of the ears after surgery,
the correction of the pre-operative asymmetry and the "unoperated"
look of the ears.
What are the possible complications?
Prominent ear correction has a low complication
rate. The main complications have been covered in the question
above: infection, bleeding and recurrence of the prominent ears are
the principle complications.
However, there is a further very important possible
complication to mention: keloid or hypertrophic scar formation.
These are both types of abnormal scars, whereby the scars behind
the ears become very lumpy (and may also be painful). In some rare
cases, the scars may become so lumpy that they result in the ears
being pushed out to be just as prominent as they were before
surgery. These can be very difficult to treat, although there are
different treatments available. If you have any history of abnormal
scar formation, it is very important to mention it, as it may
suggest you are at a higher risk for forming keloid or hypertrophic
scars behind your ears.