Protruding ears are the most common congenital deformity of the ears. There are several reasons that cause the protrusion of the ears. One of the most common reasons is a failure of the antihelix to develop fully or the development of inadequately formed antihelix. In more rare cases, prominent ears may occur due to an enlarged concha.
The shape of the ear as well as the size is determined before the birth. Therefore, the wide-spread opinion that prominent ears will set back closer to the head by themselves if a child sleeps with his/her head tightly wrapped with a headscarf is not true. The shape of the ears can be corrected only surgically. The anatomical structure as well as the size of the ears is inherited.
The best candidates for surgery are patients not younger than 6 years as the ears grow fastest during the first years of life and the ears of a 6-year-old child reach 96% of the adult’s ear size.
How Is the Surgery Performed?
The surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia and takes about 1–1.5 hours. During the surgery, the patient hears crunching of the cartilage, other sounds, but does not feel any pain.
The incision is placed behind the ear, and the antihelical fold is created. The cartilage is segmented from the back side, then the incision is placed in the cartilage of the back side of the seeming antihelix, and the anterior surface of the cartilage is separated. It is softened by scratching or scoring (fine cuts). The weakened cartilage is sutured from the back side; thus, a new rounded antihelix is formed.
What Should Be Known After Surgery?
- One hour after the surgery, the patient is allowed to go home.
- The patient has to wear an ear bandage for 7 days, 24 hours per day.
- One week after the removal of sutures, the ears have not to be bandaged; however, it is recommended to wear a gentle compressive headband at night for 8 weeks afterwards.