Ear pinning is the most common reason to undergo corrective ear surgery. Correction of prominent ears creates better harmony to the face and can result in a considerable improvement in the psychological wellbeing of children and adults.
Mr Sabbagh uses ear stitches to correct prominent ears. The stitches enable accurate movement of different parts of the ear and thus the upper, middle and lower third can be pinned back to the degree the patient desires. By inserting multiple stitches pinning is completely controlled to give a natural look, very effective and predictable. The surgery is performed under local anaesthetic from behind the ear and the resulting scar is almost invisible.
Recovery is quick with no bruising on the front of the ear and return to work is possible after a few days. A bandage is not necessary but can be worn for comfort for 1-2 days.
The ear stitch technique is very safe with no risk of any damage to the ear as with some other techniques. It can be performed under local anaesthetic (with or without sedation) or general anaesthetic as dictated by patient’s age and wishes.
How is the operation performed?
Surgery is performed from behind the ear. A small ellipse of skin is removed to gain access to the ear cartilage. The fold of the cartilage visible on the front of the ear (antihelix) is recreated with several non-dissolving sutures. In some ears the conchal bowl (the deep concavity of the ear) is excessively prominent. This is repositioned with sutures or, if very stiff, some of the conchal cartilage is removed. The skin is then closed behind the ear with dissolvable sutures.
From what age can the surgery be performed?
Correction of prominent ears can be performed at any age after 5 years. Although it is possible to perform the surgery before the age of 5 it is not advisable as the operation requires understanding and co-operation from the patient.
Will there be scars?
There will be a surgical scar behind the ear which will not be visible.
Will I need to wear a bandage?
A head bandage covering the ears and forehead only will be placed at surgery. The aim of the bandage is to make healing more comfortable and minimize minor bleeding that may occur. The bandage can be removed the next day as dictated by patients comfort. The patient will be advised to wear a headband at night and during sport activities for 6 weeks.
Is the operation painful?
There will be some discomfort of the ears and this is alleviated by basic painkillers such as paracetamol. This usually settles after 1 week; however the ears can remain slightly tender to touch for 6 months following the surgery
Are there any risks?
This is a procedure with a very high level of satisfaction. Complications are very rare and minor. There may be some bleeding from the wound which is of no consequence. Infection rate is very low at 1%. In the majority scars heal very well and are almost invisible. In a small group of the population thicker (hypertrophic) scars may form which may need further treatment.
There is a small risk (5%) of partial recurrence of the ear prominence. This is most likely to occur in the first six months and can be corrected if necessary.