Ear deformities

There are different types of ear deformities. Patients most frequently approach us to solve prominent ears through otoplasty surgery. Besides this, there is a number of congenital deformities which include large ears (macrotia), disproportional parts of the ear, lack of certain structures or a completely missing ear (microtia). The ear can also be deformed as a result of trauma, most commonly due to bites, burns, car accidents or tumors.

Through different surgical procedures, the Ear Reconstruction Team can solve the abovementioned deformities in children and adult patients.

Otoplasty/Prominent ears

Correction of prominent ears (otoplasty) is the most common type of ear surgery. Prominent ears can be the cause of ridicule among children and can have negative psychological effects on them. Solving this problem can give the face a more balanced appearance and can have positive psychological effects.

A number of procedures are used to correct prominent ears. Our Team uses so-called suture techniques. Precise suturing can be used to bring the ear in closer to the face but also to re-shape all the needed anatomical details. The surgery is performed from the back side of the ear and the scar is practically invisible. Healing time following this procedure is short. Bandaging is worn between two and seven days. In the first week following the procedure the patient can feel slight discomfort or itching which can be alleviated with mild pain-killers.

It is best to perform the surgery when the child turns six or later. At this point the ear has nearly completed its growth. The procedure can be done in local or under general anesthesia, depending on the patients age or preference.

Revision otoplasty

In the case the patient is not satisfied with the outcomes of a previous otoplasty procedure, a majority of their concerns can be addressed through revision. In most cases, it is necessary to pin the ear closer to the head which can be easily accomplished with additional sutures. In some cases, the middle part of the ear can be too pinned down compared to the top and bottom part (“telephone ear” deformity). This can be solved by releasing the scar tissue and, if needed, by using a part of the cartilage to prop the ear up. In rare instances, when the cartilage has undergone severe damage during otoplasty, the revision must be done using rib cartilage.

Ear reduction

Patients with macrotia have ears which are large both in width and length and typically are not prominent. The average ear is about 60 to 65mm long and about 35 to 45mm wide. Macrotia patients may have a part of the ear (lower or upper) which is disproportionately larger than the rest of the ear. Therefore, the surgical approach has to be tailored for each individual case. Generally, the surgical procedure involves removal of a part of the cartilage and skin to reduce the ear. The scar is usually placed in the front and becomes barely visible within a few months. Recovery from this procedure may last up to 10 days.

Ear lobe surgery

There are different types of ear lobe deformities such as large ear lobes, congenital splits, lumps, ear lobes connected to the cheek skin (“elf ears”) and other. The most common deformity is a torn ear lobe and various complications related to ear piercing. Each of these deformities requires a tailored surgical approach to obtain good results and a majority of these are easily solved with surgery.

Reconstruction after trauma

Trauma can cause different types of ear deformities, from barely visible to complete amputation. The most common causes of trauma are dog or human bites, car accidents, tumors and burns.

In most cases it is possible to reconstruct the missing part of the ear using cartilage a few months following the trauma. Depending on the size of the defect this surgery could require either rib cartilage or concha cartilage from the other ear. The procedure is done in two stages in most cases. In the first stage we create the shape of the ear but due to the lack of skin it would remain attached to the head. In the second stage, six months after the first surgery, the space behind the ear (retro auricular sulcus) is crated using a skin transplant.

Other congenital deformities

Constricted ear, cryptotia (hidden ear) and Stahl’s ear (excess cartilage in one part of the ear) are various congenital ear deformities which can be solved through surgery. Depending on the deformity, the surgery can range from a very simple procedure to very complex such as in the case of full reconstruction conducted in microtia patients.

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