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Most prominent ears, known medically as Pinnaplasty or Otoplasty, lack a normal fold of cartilage or have excess cartilage. Children with prominent ears are often teased at school and adults are very conscious of their ears. Surgery can correct deformities and set ears back closer to the head and create a natural look.

Prominent Ear Surgery


The operation is usually carried out after the age of 5 when the cartilage has adequate strength to hold stitches. The goal of surgery is improvement and not perfection. Perfect symmetry is both unlikely and unnatural in ears. Some deformities are completely correctable and others are not.

Surgical Procedure

Surgery may be performed either under a local anaesthetic with or without sedation or under general anaesthetic.

A skin incision is made behind the ear to expose the ear cartilage. The cartilage is then sculpted and stitches are inserted to help maintain the new shape of the cartilage. Redundant skin is sometimes removed. The wound is closed and a turban-like head bandage is secured in place for a week. The surgical scar is usually well hidden and is not noticeable.

Time Off Work

Most children can go back to school after a week and adults may return to work within 48 hours.

Potential Complications

Bleeding and infection may occur but both are rare. Occasionally, this may affect the shape of the ears. Unfavourable scars, though rare, tend to occur in Black or Asian skin types. Loss correction may occur especially if the ears are traumatised before healing is complete. The ears usually feel numb or tingly for several weeks or even months after surgery and this sensation is usually exaggerated when exposed to cold.

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