Ear surgery, or otoplasty, is used to reduce the appearance of prominent ears. This treatment essentially pins back ears that stick out too much. This is a surprisingly common condition and one that can cause embarrassment particularly amongst children.
The otoplasty procedure is normally carried out under a general anaesthetic and takes between 2-3 three hours. In adults a local anaesthetic will sometimes suffice. The operation involves making a small incision on the back of the head near to the groove of the ear and bending it back towards the head. using stitches in order to reshape. Occasionally, some of the cartilage will be removed.
After ear surgery you should be able to return home the same day, although sometimes an overnight stay is required.You may need to wear a protective bandage around the head to protect the area for 1-2 weeks. A medical dressing is worn for around a week or until the stitches are removed. Otoplasty patients can normally return to school or work within one week.
Risks and side effects
As well as the anaesthetic risk, ear surgery complications include infection and problems with wound healing. Infections in the cartilage can lead to scar tissue which may need to be addressed through a skin graft. In rare cases a blood clot, or hematoma, can develop in the ear which may require surgery to remove.
Cost and prices
Otoplasty, or ear pinning, is free under the NHS for children under 16. Privately ear surgery in the UK will cost between from £1200 to £3000. If you choose to have ear surgery abroad you can save a substantial amount of money. For example in certain european countries the treatment costs less than £1000.
NHS, private or abroad
Ear pinning surgery is available on the NHS for children under 16 who are having problems due to their prominent ears. Adults are unlikely to be able to have otoplasty on the NHS because for them the operation is perceived to be a purely cosmetic pocedure. However, ear surgery is available at most private cosmetic clinics both in the UK and abroad.
Is medical treatment abroad a good idea or is it less safe than in the UK?