When we were at school there is no doubt there were almost always one or two children who copped the nickname “wingnut”. Whilst for some of us this was almost a term of endearment, for the individual concerned it was almost invariably not a positive nickname. It was in all probability the start of an ongoing element of self-consciousness related to their prominent ears, sometimes stretching into and affecting the young adulthood.
So what can be done? According to Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon, Dr John Newton, “Ears can be reasonably simply pinned back”.
Dr Newton sees a significant number of folk who are concerned about the prominence of their ears and he says that they present at a whole range of ages.
“Probably the most common presentation is during primary school when kids are perhaps not given a hard time about their ears but their ears are noticed by their school friends. The children become aware of the prominence of their ears and surprisingly, even at that young age, are prepared to think about having something done.”
In children this young, Dr Newton suggests that it is important that a child have an understanding of what is being done before proceeding.
Sometimes parents can be a little keen (particularly if they have had their own ears done as children) but it is nice that a child develops an awareness so that he or she can more readily tolerate the procedure and the period afterwards.
“Adolescence is another period when kids are very self-conscious and I see a number of folk looking for otoplasty in that age group.” states Dr Newton.
“It is not to say that adults do not come in looking for correction of their prominent ears. Adults come in through the full range of adulthood to talk about their ears and in fact I have seen and treated people in their 60’s”.
The operation itself is not simply the excision of skin but involves reshaping of the cartilage. It involves in particular reshaping of the fold in the cartilage that lies between the hole in the ear and the rim of the ear. This restructures the skeleton of the ear. The skin excision and some sutures behind the ear hold the ear in place whilst the ear resets itself.
Once the operation is over, there is a period of time where a bandage needs to be worn on the head. This is almost Turban-like in its extent and, in general, is worn for about two weeks. After that, simple care has to be taken of the ears for about another 4-6 weeks.
The results of the procedure are generally very satisfactory. Complications are uncommon. The ears should look very natural and not appear as if they have had an operation.
Dr Newton states that he personally finds it a very rewarding operation to perform. “The results are instantaneous on the operating table and the patient’s excitement about the results is usually obvious immediately the bandages are taken off.”
Girls who are shy to wear their hair up, or go swimming, are much happier to do so and young boys who don’t really want to grow their hair long often end up getting it cut reasonably short after the surgery.
Further information about procedures and qualified plastic surgeons is available at the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons website: www:plasticsurgery.org.au. Their telephone number for direct enquiry is (02) 9437 9200.
Dr Newton’s surgery is located at 14 Howard Street, Warners Bay. His telephone number is [mobilelink fieldname=”site_wide_phone” title=”Call Us Now”].