2 The condition, current treatments and procedure
2.1 Protruding or prominent ears result when cartilaginous folds fail to form within the ear.
2.2 Surgery to correct protruding ears aims to reposition the elastic cartilage permanently while preserving a natural appearance. Cartilage-sparing techniques such as scoring, drilling and suturing of the cartilage may be used. Most techniques involve a post-auricular skin incision, although there has been a report of an incisionless otoplasty.
2.3 This procedure is done under local anaesthesia. One or more implants (gold-coated curved nitinol devices) are used to create or reshape the antihelical fold of the ear. The aim is to correct any ear prominence resulting from either poor definition or a lack of this fold.
2.4 The position of any implants is discussed and agreed with the patient before the procedure and marked on the ear. The implant is inserted using an introducer and released onto the anterior surface of the cartilage, immediately reshaping it and correcting the ear prominence. The incision is closed using 1 or 2 dissolvable sutures, and the wound is then dressed with sterile tape.
2.5 Typically, 1 implant is used in each ear, but more may be needed. The procedure usually takes about 20 minutes for both ears.