The most common deformation of ear is called “prominent ear” or “bat ear” in public. “Prominent ear” means the abnormal sidewise or frontal bending of the concha due to ear helixes’ imperfect formation caused by the weakness of ear cartilages.The excessive distance between the ear and the bone behind the ear is usually the main factor. This deformation is usually inherited from the family. This problem, which is one of the major complexes of many people and especially those of school-age children, varies in perception according to the culture. While prominent ear is a subject of mockery in Western societies, it is accepted as a sign of cuteness, sweetness, and beauty for young women in Japan. In such cultures, prominent ear is not dispraised and considered to be a motive of preference. Prominent ear surgery is a plastic surgery that is demanded in great extent by men as well. The reason for this is that men cannot hide their ears due to their short hairs while women can hide their prominent ears with their long hairs. In such cases, with a series of operations, it is possible to create a new concha by taking cartilages from other parts of the body. These are the cases in which the concha’s shape is different from the normal, but they can be corrected with surgery. Also, for those people who were born with no ear or lost their ear in an accident, a new ear can be constructed with the cartilages taken from the patient’s ribs.
What are the causes? Prominent ear is an inherent deformity and varies according to the family. It is not caused by any particular factor. It is not a symptom of any disorder or any disease. Sometimes, one ear or two ears may be abnormally missing in the newborn. According to another theory, estrogen hormone circulating in blood makes ear cartilages soft, and as a result, the ear, being pulled by the front ear muscles, transforms into prominent ear right after birth.
When should this operation be performed? Prominent ear is the worst nightmare of school-age children whether they are male or female because their peers at school make fun of them and this situation severely disturbs their achievement at school and their social relationships. They show adaptation problems at school. Prominent ear may cause serious psychological problems that may be untreatable in the future. The best treatment for the baby whose prominent ear is recognized by the family is the continuous application of an elastic bandage on the ear for several months starting at 2-3 weeks after the birth under the supervision of a doctor. The result is usually successful, which eliminates the need for an operation in the future. For those children who missed this opportunity, the best time for treatment, which has to be surgical, is the age of 6 before they start to attend classes. They would be treated when they start going to school without ever having psychological awareness of their problem, and avoiding mockery of their school peers. Since ears complete their developmental phase at 4-5 ages, there is no problem in having surgery at the age of 6. Depending on personal conditions and the family’s preferences, the surgery can be performed in further years, but the surgery before school age should be preferred in order to avoid the situation in which classmates make fun of the child’s ears. The operation can be performed in any age starting from the age of 5.
Can adults have this surgery as well? Adults can easily undergo prominent ear correction surgery without any inconvenience. Those patients, who could not have treatment at childhood due to socio-economic factors in our society, can have the surgery when they become adults and control their own financial resources.
What are the benefits of the surgery? Prominent ear plastic surgery brings the ears to their normal position and changes the patient’s appearance significantly. Since this change provides the person with self-confidence, it affects familial and social relationships positively.
What are the tasks parents should undertake? When you detect this problem with your children, it is the best to consult a physician. If your children at school-age, you should try to learn if this situation is affecting your kids, because children sometimes do not put their problems into words. This might make them depressive if all problems are kept inside. If your child is complaining about this problem, you should take this seriously and try to help them. You may have serious issues in the future. However, if children are not complaining about their ears and demanding this operation and change, they should not be forced to undergo the surgery. The children who are disturbed by the shape of their ears and who demand surgical operation are usually more easygoing during the treatment.
How is the treatment? Ear plastic surgery does not carry serious risks. It is a very simple and easy operation. It can be performed under regional or general anesthesia depending on the patient’s age. It can be done at hospitals or at clinics. It is a daily surgical operation, which does not require staying at hospital. It can be applied at the backside or the front side of the ear according to the surgeon’s preferences. The ear is placed to the backside after ear cartilages are reshaped. The surgery can take 45 to 90 minutes, varying according to the type of operation. It is necessary to wear a ear strap for 1-2 weeks after the surgery. Since incision marks remain on the folds behind the ear, there emerges no visible trace. It does not affect hearing and the healing is completed within 1-2 weeks. Sagging, lacerations and expanding holes on the earlobes can be easily treated with local anesthesia. The patient, whose ears’ appearance is corrected, becomes psychologically relieved. In general, this surgery is recently gaining popularity among people. In addition to being simple, reliable, and painless, it ensures significant amendments on the person’s appearance, and on the person’s psychological condition as well. This ear deformity, commonly known as “bat ear”, causes serious psychological problems and shame complexes for children and adults starting from the school ages. The correction surgery should be done before school ages when the child is 5 or 6 years old, because his/her friends at school may mock the child, and this may cause psychological distress or awareness of a problem that the child is never troubled before. There is no problem having this operation in adulthood. In general, this surgery is recently gaining popularity among people. In addition to being simple, reliable, and painless, it ensures significant amendments on the person’s appearance, and on the person’s psychological condition as well.