What are prominent ears?
Prominent ears, also known as oversized or protruding ears, are a common birth defect among children. They can occur in a variety of forms and may be caused by genetic predisposition or trauma to the ear cartilage during the birthing process. An infant’s ear deformities are usually diagnosed within weeks of life. The severity of the condition can range from minimal to severe and may cause an individual to feel self-conscious about their appearance.
- What are prominent ears?
- Why do prominent ears occur?
- What are the associated problems of prominent ears?
- Can prominent ears be passed on?
- How are prominent ears corrected?
- What is the recovery from prominent ear surgery (otoplasty)?
- What are the risks and complications of prominent ear correction (otoplasty)?
In order to correct prominent ears, surgical intervention is often required. Otoplasty procedures involve reconstructing the cartilage structure so that it regains its natural fold and brings the ears closer to the head. This procedure is typically performed by a facial plastic surgeon who is experienced in treating ear deformities.
In some cases, children may not need surgery until they reach adult size; however, this depends on the severity of the condition and whether or not it affects their everyday life. If you’re considering otoplasty for your child, it’s important to seek advice from an expert plastic surgeon in order to decide which course of action would be best for your child’s specific case.
Why do prominent ears occur?
Prominent ears can occur in children due to a number of factors, some of which are genetic and others that may be environmental. The most common cause is a congenital deformity where excess cartilage, often caused by maternal estrogens, prevents the ear from developing its natural shape. This excess cartilage can cause the ears to stick out further than usual from the head, resulting in prominent ears.
In order to correct this deformity, surgical intervention is typically necessary. A facial plastic surgeon will perform an otoplasty procedure to reconstruct the ear’s cartilage structure and bring it back into its natural shape. In some cases, pediatric otoplasty or molding techniques may also be used to reshape the ear over a period of time without surgery is necessary. Both procedures have a high success rate when performed by an experienced surgeon.
It’s important for parents to seek advice from an expert plastic surgeon before considering any form of surgery for their child’s prominent ears. This will ensure that your child receives the best possible treatment and that they achieve the desired results from their cosmetic ear surgery.
What are the associated problems of prominent ears?
Prominent ears can cause a number of associated problems in children. As the ear shape is abnormal, it may make the canal which leads to the eardrum narrower, leading to more frequent infections and hearing loss. Ear molding techniques can be used as a non-invasive way of reducing or reshaping the ear over time; however, in some cases, corrective surgery may be needed to achieve desirable results. Otoplasty is a common procedure that is performed on an outpatient basis to correct prominent ear deformities and restore them to their normal appearance.
The procedure involves reshaping or reconstructing the cartilage structure of the ear with plastic molds and soft tissue alterations. This allows for symmetrical ears which are laid closer to the head, thus helping reduce any self-consciousness that may have been caused by prominent ears. The procedure should only be performed by an experienced plastic surgeon who specializes in facial plastic surgery.
In cases where infants have severe deformities, otoplasty may need to be delayed until they reach at least six months of life so that their tissues have developed sufficiently for successful surgery and recovery. It’s important for parents considering otoplasty for their child to seek advice from an expert plastic surgeon in order to decide which course of action would be best for their specific case.
Can prominent ears be passed on?
As an expert plastic surgeon write about if can prominent ears be passed on using the keywords EarWell™ System, common techniques, newborn infants, infant ears, treatment success rate, ear after treatment, auricle cartilage, age at treatment application, ear procedure, 1-year-follow-up
How are prominent ears corrected?
Non-operative treatment of the prominent ear is possible by taping or splinting the ear from a very young age (less than 6 months of age). The window of opportunity is small due to the favorable, but brief plasticity of the newborn’s ear. Dr. Panossian uses the EarWell™ device to correct early ear deformities including prominent ears. Use of the device may require weeks to months to achieve a favorable appearance. Results may vary.
The optimal timing for surgical correction (ie, otoplasty or “ear pinning”) is around 4 years of age. The goal of surgery is to re-establish the lost antihelical fold by the use of sutures and/or to reduce the excessive cartilage comprising the conchal bowl. By correcting these deformities, the ear is effectively set back to a more natural position next to the head. The incision is usually placed behind the ear where it is not visible. The surgery takes less than 2 hours.
What is the recovery from prominent ear surgery (otoplasty)?
Otoplasty is typically an outpatient procedure. Following surgery, a head dressing is applied to secure the ears as they heal. The dressings are typically changed after one week, and a removable headband-style dressing is applied continuously for an additional 3 weeks. Patients are allowed to remove the headband to wash the area with soap and water in the shower daily. The headband is then worn only at nighttime for the next 6-8 weeks. Absorbable sutures are usually used; however, non-absorbable sutures (if placed) will be removed at the first postoperative visit.
Risks and Complications
What are the risks and complications of prominent ear correction (otoplasty)?
The risks and complications of prominent ear correction (otoplasty) are generally low. However, it is important to note that infants have delicate ear cartilage that is still growing and developing. This means that the treatment success rate for any infant ear deformity may be lower than for adult interventions. In addition, not following the post-operative instructions as prescribed by your plastic surgeon can also delay or limit the efficacy of the treatment.
In terms of complication rates, these will vary depending on the complexity of the surgical procedure performed and individual patient factors such as age at treatment application. Generally speaking, however, minor complications such as infection and bleeding can occur in approximately 0.4-2% of patients following otoplasty surgery. More serious complications such as long-term hearing loss are very rare but do occur in certain cases (<1%).
It is recommended that any potential patient considering otoplasty should discuss with their plastic surgeon about possible risks associated with their particular case before undergoing any procedure. The plastic surgeon should also provide detailed information regarding post-operative care that needs to be followed to maximize results and minimize risks after surgery.
Why choose Dr Panossian
- He received his medical education at Tufts University School of Medicine.
- Graduated at the top of his class at UCLA, receiving Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude honors.
- Was accepted into an elite combined general surgery and plastic surgery residency at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
- Completed subspecialty training in craniofacial surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and Harvard Medical School.
- Was mentored by Dr. Ron Zuker in the practice of facial paralysis reconstruction. This prestigious fellowship position was available to only one surgeon in the United States.
- Is affiliated with various charitable and educational organizations, including Operation Smile and Mending Kids.
- Is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the highly selective American Association of Plastic Surgeons, reserved for only a select group of individuals nationally who have demonstrated excellence in academic plastic surgery.
- Holds memberships in several other professional societies including the American College of Surgeons and the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery.
- He serves on the Board of Directors for Mending Kids and the Gondobay Manga Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the improvement of lives in Sierra Leone.
- Has been nominated by his peers annually since 2012 as a “Super Doctor.”
- Served as an expert medical consultant and appeared on The Doctors, Grey’s Anatomy, and Nip/Tuck.
- Has been featured as “Top Doctor” in US News and World Report, Pasadena Magazine, and Los Angeles Magazine.
Last modified by Dr. Andre Panossian