When a child looks out-of-the-ordinary, it gets rough in his or her social scene. Prominent ears, the most common congenital ear deformity, stand out early, just asking for ridicule. Self esteem suffers immeasurably, causing tears about ears. This is usually brought to parents’ attention, as it is often the one surgery that a child specifically asks for. Prominent ears are often caused by an excess of cartilage as well as its lack of proper definition. Surgical correction addresses both situations, reducing and reshaping with permanent internal stitches. Other congenital ear deformities with descriptive names such as Satyr ear, cryptopia (hidden ear) and lop ear can be quite complex, requiring ingenuity for correction. After surgery, the ears should be protected for six to eight months to allow good long-term healing for maintaining the new look.
Children can undergo surgical correction anytime after age 5 1/2 years. For adults who are tired of hiding their ears, corrections can even be performed under local anesthesia. Split earlobes, a very common problem from heavy or large earrings, can readily be repaired in this fashion as well.
Microtia, a small or even missing ear from birth, requires creation of a new framework out of rib cartilage. After harvesting such cartilage, it is carved, sculpted, and placed beneath the skin at its new location. Other subsequent procedures further tailor the new ear.