According to figures produced by the NHS, around 1% of people in the UK feel their ears are too big or they stick out too much. In many cases, having prominent ears especially in childhood can mean being the subject of jokes and unwanted comments.

Why do some people have more prominent ears than others?
Quite often genetic factors are involved; when a parent has large ears this can mean that children have them too. The condition affects both genders alike, usually affects both ears but in some cases only one and is present right from birth becoming more exaggerated as the child grows. It is caused by incorrect folding of the developing ear cartilage whilst the child is still in the womb.

What is the solution?
Surgery is possible in cases where a person is very adversely affected by having prominent ears either physically or psychologically. The surgeon will remove a small amount of skin from the back of the ear and then adjust the shape and, if necessary, the volume of the cartilage to enable the ear to sit closer to the head. The surgery will usually be done under a general anaesthetic and take around two hours unless there are complications. Permanent stitches may be necessary to hold the altered cartilage in place. In children ear pinning surgery can be done from the age of 12 when the child is old enough to understand the procedure and when the cartilage has become strong enough to hold stitches.

What happens afterwards?
Following surgery, the patient will be moved to a recovery room while the effects of the anaesthetic wear off. Occasionally it can involve an overnight stay but most people – including children – are up and about very quickly and sent home the same day.

They will probably be sent home with a dressing to help the healing process and avoid infection. Painkilling medication can be prescribed for a few days after which any pain or aching should disappear. If it does not the patient should return to their doctor for further examination.

Ear pinning surgery will leave a curved scar behind the ear but most patients will agree that this is a small price to pay for the joy of having ears which are no longer prominent. In any case the scar will fade after a few months and eventually will not be noticeable at all.

If you have any questions about ear pinning please call us. We’re happy to discuss your individual requirements and answer any further questions you might have about the procedure.

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