Protruding Ears

The prominent ear is a relatively common problem that is often described as protruding ears or ears that stick out. The prominent ear may have the following characteristics: a poorly defined antihelical fold and conchal excess (greater than 1.5cm deep). The extent of the deformity will vary from patient to patient. For example, some people will have a large conchal cartilage but a normal anihelical fold. Prominent ears may become a problem for school age children. At this early age children may become aware of this problem and may be teased by peers.

Diagnosis

Dr. Bray, Jr. will perform a complete examination of the ears and face. The ears will be carefully examined to look for deformities. The symmetry between both ears will be evaluated. The position, length, height, and shape of the ears will be analyzed. The ear canal and ear drum will be visualized. The relationship of the ears to the rest of the face will be assessed.

Protruding Ear Surgery

Otoplasty surgery may be performed for children at 5-6 years of age. At this time the ear is almost fully developed and the cartilage is still malleable. Adults may have the surgery at any time. Dr. Bray, Jr. will make a well hidden incision behind the ear. This will allow access to shape and reposition the ear. If the conchal cartilage is excessive, Dr. Bray, Jr. will excise a small piece of conchal cartilage. This will allow the ear to be positioned closer to the head. The cartilage excision will also make creating the antihelical fold easier. If the antihelical fold is underdeveloped, suture techniques will be used to create a smooth normal appearing antihelical fold. Otoplasty surgery requires a balance between art and science. Dr. Bray, Jr. will frequently compare the two ears for symmetry and shape in an effort to give the best result to each patient.

Postoperative

A bandage will be placed over the ears postoperatively. Dr. Bray, Jr. will instruct the patient on the use of a head band placed over the ears postoperatively.