For many, prominent ears are a source of distress. In many cases the prominent ear lacks a normal fold. Sometimes only one ear is prominent, often both ears are prominent. Correction or setback of prominent ears can be done and is called otoplasty or pinnoplasty surgery. It can be done under local or general anaesthesia and as a day case procedure.
An incision is made behind the ear and a small amount of skin removed. The cartilage is then reshaped to recreate the missing fold and to set the ear back closer to the head. It is this rehaping of the cartilage that corrects the prominence of the ear. Occasionally a small piece of the cartilage is removed if the bowl of the ear (choncha) is especially deep. The scar is hidden in the groove behind the ear.
A head bandage is worn afterwards, initially all the time and then at night. While most scars heal well, if you have a history of hypertrophic (lumpy) or keloid scars it is strongly advisable to mention this before surgery. This can put you at higher risk for developing raised scars after your surgery which are difficult to treat.
This surgery is most often done in childhood but can be done for adults as well. It is generally best to wait until the child is at least 6 to 7 years of age to allow for growth and strength of the cartilage to take place. It is also advisable to wait until the child recognises the problem and wishes correction. Children are happier with the outcome and more cooperative with the aftercare required if they fully understand why and wish for the surgery to take place.