We know through experience that the decision to have an ear correction is generally preceded by a long decision making process. With this information we would like to help you with this process, by advising you about the procedure itself and the possibilities and risks involved in this operation. This advice, does not however, replace the need for an extensive personal consultation with your surgeon who will thoroughly address your specific questions.
When is an ear correction useful?
What is the aim of an ear correction?
What do I have to consider before an ear correction (pre-operative phase)?
What do I have to consider after an ear correction (post-operative phase)?
What are the possible risks with an ear correction?
Which result can I expect after an ear correction and what are the chances of success?
Pinned back. Children with protruding ears can have a huge psychological burden. Protruding ears are congenital but the degree of the protrusion varies and can be eliminated by bringing the ears closer to the head (ear pinning). The normal form of the ear is determined by a three-dimensional curvature of the ear cartilage. Congenital traits can cause individual cartilage pieces to be too large or cause too little curvature or no curvature at all, which means that the ear protrudes excessively from the head.
As ears are normally fully developed by the age of 5, preschool age is often a good time for the surgery. The surgery can also be performed on adults.
The aim of an ear correction is to give the ear and the earlobe a natural shape and size by the use of different surgical techniques.
Procedure. With protruding ears without curvature of the ear cartilage, an incision is made in the skin behind the ear which exposes the cartilage. Through abrasive procedures or through removal of parts of cartilage, the cartilage is weakened which allows a curve to be put in the right place and therefore re-shaped. The newly formed curvature is fixed into position using non-removable stitches in the cartilage.
With protruding ears with normal cartilage curvature, excess cartilage can be removed and the external ear fixed back using non-removable stitches. After inserting a small drain, the incision is closed using fine stitches and dressed.
Large or torn earlobes can, through the resection of the scar or the removal of any excess, be brought back to a normal size.
Type of anaesthesia. This procedure is usually carried out under local anaesthetic but can be carried out under sedation if required. With children, general anaesthetic is used.
Before the surgery, you should wash your hair and a soft wide headband should be bought. Information on general measures and the necessary preliminary examinations will be put together for you personally in a pamphlet which you will receive at your consultation.
The head bandage holds the ear in the new position. After the operation, it is important not to bend down and to avoid physical exertion and strain. Temporary bruising, swelling or a feeling of tension regularly occurs after surgery but these changes should not worry you and should disappear within a few days. The drain is usually removed after 1 to 2 days and the stitches, depending on the technique, are removed between 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. After consultation with the surgeon, the head dressing may be replaced by a headband. This must be worn day and night for 2 weeks, and then, for an additional week, only at night. The hair can be washed once the stitches have been removed.
All sports should be avoided for about 2 weeks and heat from outside sources (e.g. saunas) should also be avoided for about 1 month.
No procedure is without risk. The general risks of surgery include the possibility of bleeding, thrombosis and infection. Specific risks associated with an ear correction are the possibility of temporary numbness behind the ear, and a reaction of the skin to the stitches behind the ear.
The overall aesthetic look to the head and face is disrupted by the protrusion of the ears. Through surgery, a more natural degree between the head and the ear can be achieved, and especially with children, the psychological burden be avoided. The end result is immediately visible once the swelling has subsided.