The normal ear lies at an angle of 15 o from the head and ears that stand out at a greater angle and may be considered to be prominent. Those who are unfortunate enough to have prominent ears (also known as 'bat ears') frequently grow up with taunts and teases. Although long hair can cover the ears they become obvious in high winds or when the hair is wet. In the newborn, 'bat ears' may be corrected by gentle taping of the ears to the side of the head or the wearing of a 'cradle cap'. If the problem remains uncorrected after infancy, correction may only be achieved by operation. The ears attain 80% of their final size by the age of 4 and it is quite safe to carry out the procedure from that age onwards. When meeting your surgeon, he will ask for a general medical history and details of any previous ear surgery. Ear asymmetry is usual and will be pointed out at your consultation. The surgeon will naturally aim for improving the symmetry as much as possible although it will never be perfect.
Pinnaplasty can be carried out under general anaesthetic (it is usually recommended for children) or local anaesthetic and may be carried out simultaneously with most other facial surgeries. The incisions are generally placed behind the ear The cartilage of the ear is remodelled and on occasion, some of the cartilage may be removed. The sutures (stitches) are usually removed one week post operatively or may be absorbable which will not require removal.
After surgery the ears may be re-covered with a large head dressing which must be worn for one week. After this it is advisable to wear a tennis headband for eight weeks at night and during any contact sports.Occasionally a bandage may slip post operatively causing one ear to heal in a slightly different position to the other, which may necessitate minor correction under local anaesthetic.
It is normal to feel moderate discomfort following pinnaplasty. There may still be some bruising and swelling on removal of the dressings but this will settle rapidly within a week or two and the improvement in the prominence of the ears will be apparent. Numbness is fairly common, but the ears will eventually return to normal. Mild infection is possible around the stitch line after surgery but this is usually resolved quite quickly. Particular care is taken during the operation to stop any bleeding from the small blood vessels divided during surgery. Occasionally a small blood vessel leaks post operatively causing bleeding and this may necessitate a return to the theatre. However, this situation is rare.
The correction of prominent ears is one of the most common and pleasing operations in aesthetic plastic surgery. The results are usually excellent and everlasting giving the ears a natural appearance and the individual increased confidence.
Deciding to have cosmetic surgery is a major step in anyone's life, involving support, research and courage.Having gained the support of my family, and the courage to finally deal with the eye bags that had plagued my life since childhood; I set about finding the right surgeon. After a couple of false starts I had the very good fortune to discover Mr. Anthony Armstrong, who also came highly recommended from my GP.I appreciated his candid approach, and buoyed by his reputation as a surgeon, took the decision to undergo upper and lower blepharoplasty. I received very good information about the procedure and felt totally reassured by his delightful nurse and right hand Sheilagh. The operation was indeed straightforward, and I was left under no illusions as to how I would look in the immediate aftermath, so there were no bad surprises. I was astonished at how quickly the bruises receded, and how swiftly my life could return to normal.It is now 4 months since my procedure, and I am ecstatic with the results. The most important issue was to look fresher and less heavy, but still completely natural. I can confirm that the procedure has exceeded all my expectations, and I would urge anyone considering this type of procedure to go ahead, using the considerable skills of Mr. Anthony Armstrong and his brilliant team.