Commonly known as “Pinning of the ears”, this is a rather gross description of what is in fact an intricate operation. Prominent ears are common and are mostly genetic in origin.
The 2 main features of a prominent ear are a lack of the natural fold in the ear (antihelical fold) and a deep conchal bowl (See Figure 1). The operation to correct prominent ears involves excising an ellipse of skin behind the ear and this is where the eventual scar will be hidden. The next step is to strategically weaken the cartilage and then use sutures to permanently reshape the cartilage into a nicer shape.
Figure 1 Normal anatomy of the external ear showing the features that are important to consider during surgical correction – the antihelical fold and the concha (conchal bowl).
Whilst it is a very safe procedure and can be performed as a day case in hospital, all operations carry a minor degree of risk. The most significant of the risks are infection and bleeding and the consequences of these will be explained to you by your surgeon.