What is it?

A prominent ear protrudes excessively from the side of the head.  It is frequently a source of teasing, using names like ‘Dumbo, FA Cup, Jug Ears, and Wing Nut’.

The Operation

Surgical correction of prominent ears is usually performed under general anaesthesia in children. It can also be done under local anaesthesia. There are many ways of performing this surgery. Most frequently, an incision is made behind the ear, some skin is removed, and the cartilage remaining is marked on the front surface to allow it to bend backwards towards the head.  Dissolving sutures are then used to hold it in the new position.  A dressing is placed to keep the ear comfortable. Many surgeons use cotton wool and a bandage to end up like a turban to avoid disturbing the new position of the ear. The procedure is usually done as a Day Case.

Any Alternatives

The cartilage of the ear is very soft immediately after childbirth and it is possible to have moulds made which can gently re-shape the ear in the first few weeks of life.  Some people get so upset about the prominence of their ears sticking out that they have even used ‘super glue’ to hold them to the side of their head.

Before the Operation

Sort out any tablets, medicines, inhalers that your child is using. Keep them in their original boxes and packets. Bring them to hospital with you. On the ward, your child may be checked for past illnesses and may have special tests, ready for the operation. Many hospitals now run special preadmission clinics, where