Deformity of the ears is among the most common of visible birth defects in children. This problem varies in complexity and often remains unrepaired into adulthood, especially with the current reluctance of "managed-care" plans to underwrite the cost of appropriate surgery.
Often typified by failure of the outer rim of the ear to fold back toward the scalp during fetal development, this defect results in outward protrusion of the ears, and thus undue prominence. This ear deformity often results in taunts by other children, and is thus thought to best be repaired before a child enters school.
The surgical procedure to repair protruding ears is best done under general anesthesia in young children, but can be easily be carried out under local anesthesia, with or without sedation, in teen and adult patients.
Surgical repair involves exposing and reshaping the deformed ear cartilages, creating the missing ear folds, and positioning the ears in proper location adjacent to the mastoid bones of the skull. A special contour-conforming ear-dressing is used for about 5-7 days post-op to prevent disruption of the repair, and a protective head-band is recommended for six weeks to protect the repair and allow it to stabilize.