Protruding ears is a relatively common problem is children, and can be corrected through a quick surgical procedure. The normal ear is sticks out about 20-30 degrees from the side of the head. In some patients this angle is much greater, and the ears to stick out too far, which is called prominotia or prominent ears. While some babies might outgrow this deformity, children who do not may need to have an otoplasty to pin the ears back. Dr Rodman generally recommends that children have the surgery around the age of 5 years. At 5 years old, the patient’s ears are 85% of adult size, so they are developed enough to make changes. Also, most children start kindergarden at age 5, and getting the ears fixed before starting school may prevent being teased and making the child feel self conscious about his or her ears. Dr Rodman also does this surgery on adults of all ages. It’s never too late to make a change!
What to expect:
The surgery can be done under IV sedation and takes 1-2 hours. A small incision is made behind the ear and the scar is hidden in the crease behind the ear so it isn’t visible. There are several techniques for correcting the ears, and in your consultation with Dr Rodman you will discuss the best option for you. In some patients, a small amount of cartilage needs to be removed. In other patients, permanent stitches help create a natural fold in the rim of the ear and pin the ear back. After surgery, a bandage will be placed over the ears which holds them back, and this stays on for two days. The patient is able to go home the same day after surgery. After the bandage is removed, patients are instructed to wear a headband (like an exercise sweatband) that holds the ears back for one week. After the first week the stitches are removed, and the patient will wear the headband only at night for 2 months. Patients generally do not have much pain and are able to resume light activity after a few days. Patients are told to avoid strenuous exercise or heavy lifting for two weeks.
Otoplasty is a relatively simple procedure that can create a great change in the appearance of the ears and face. Children over the age of 5 and adults with protruding ears are candidates.