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Prominent ears can be a very distressing problem for children and adults alike.  They usually arise because the ears have not developed properly.  Prominence is often due to a failure of the ear cartilages to fold back correctly.  Alternatively, the shell (concha) of the ear may be too large and push the ear forwards.  Both of these problems can be corrected by surgery.

The aim

A pinnaplasty aims to achieve a symmetrical natural shape to the ears without producing a ‘’stuck back’’ look.

The operation

In children this operation is usually carried out under general anaesthetic, but in adults it can be carried out under local anaesthetic as a day case procedure and takes about one and a half hours. 


Medication that may increase post-operative bleeding such as Aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Voltarol or Ibuprofen should be avoided for four weeks before surgery.


If a local anaesthetic is used, the procedure is carried out as a day case.  There will be a scar behind the ears and a large head bandage will need to be worn for about 10 days after the operation.  Once the bandages are removed, the sutures are trimmed and it is possible to wash your hair.  After that, a head band will need to be worn for a further four weeks at night only.

Common risks

The ears will be swollen and bruised for about two weeks after the bandages are removed.  There may be some areas of numbness over the ears, but these usually recover quite quickly.  There is a risk of bleeding, infection, thickened scarring behind the ears and some minor residual asymmetry of the ears.


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