In Western society, prominent ears are the butt of teasing, unpleasantness and even bullying. This can carry on into adult life, making life a misery for children and adults alike.

Surgery can be carried out from the age of 6: the ear is well formed by this stage and teasing has not usually started before this. In children, a general anaesthetic (asleep) is needed but from the early teenage years and increasing into the adult age group, surgery can be carried out under local anaesthetic. A general anaesthetic can still be used for teenagers and adults, if preferred. Surgery is usually carried out as a day case.

A special dressing is applied to each ear to keep the new shape and a bandage, held with tape round the head to hold it all in place. After going home, it is very important to leave the bandage alone: if it comes off, it is best re-applied at the Hospital. The bandage stays on for about 7 days when it is removed in the dressing clinic.

There is some bruising and swelling at this stage which settles quickly. Headband is worn at home at night for a further 4 weeks. The stitches behind the ear will be removed after 7 days in the dressing clinic. Contact sports should be avoided for a month.

Exact symmetry of the ears is not guaranteed (most people’s ears are a bit different from each other). Very occasionally, the initial result requires slight alteration and, if required, this would normally be done after about 6 months.

Prominent ear correction may avoid much misery for children if carried out at about 6 or 7 years old and can relieve older children, teenagers and adults of significant torment, providing a great boost to self-confidence. The surgery does not affect hearing.

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