Protruding or bat ears can be corrected by an otoplasty procedure. Bat ears may be due to either an excessively deep concha (meaning shell) or an inadequate antihelical fold or both.
Other ear problems which I sometimes deal with include large earlobes, tubercles and split earlobes caused by earrings pulling out – see the video lower down on the page.
All ear surgery on adults is performed as day case surgery (in and out the same day) in my own, private facility. The procedure is done under local anaesthesia (no worse than going to the dentist), but sometimes sedation is given. Surgery is usually performed in the morning and you will be discharged home later that same day.
To correct bat ears, an incision is made in the groove behind the ear and some tissue is removed. The commonest issue is a deep concha and to correct this the concha is sutured back with permanent sutures to approximate it closer to the head. To create or deepen the antihelical fold the cartilage is sutured back on itself behind the ear with permanent sutures. Often both procedures are required. Once the ear is correctly placed, then I close the cut behind the ear with dissolving sutures.
Post-operatively you will need to wear a head bandage for about 5 days. There will still be some swelling and bruising of the ear after removal of the bandage, but this will not be that apparent to other people and you will be able to start resuming normal activities. The swelling and bruising take about another week to settle. You should wait a month before resuming sports and 6 weeks for contact sports.
The ears, once set back, should remain back in their new position, although some settling in can be expected.
From a cleft patient who had secondary surgery to help her speech:
It is one year ago that i was blessed to meet and know you. Thank you very much for the support you rendered to me while I was in South Africa. I will never forget your acts of kindness. I am fine now and my speech has greatly improved! I think I don’t need another operation. Even though I don’t communicate that often, you are always at heart.