Prominent Ear Correction

Prominent Ear Correction

When ears project too far from the side of the head they are said to be prominent. Ears are one of the first parts of the body to reach adult size therefore prominent ears can become a problem in early childhood. Prominent ears (also previously somewhat unkindly termed ‘bat ears’) can lead to teasing and name calling at school which can result in a great deal of distress for an affected child. Surgical treatment is best undertaken when children are at an age when their understanding is sufficient to enable them to be part of the decision-making process. Therefore most children will be at least 6 years of age before they undergo prominent ear correction (also known as a pinnaplasty or otoplasty).

What does surgery for prominent ears involve?

Generally in children this type of surgery requires a general anaesthetic. Typically there are three main issues that must be addressed as part of the surgery. Firstly the lack definition of the key folds within the ear (known as the anti-helical folds) must be corrected. Secondly a deep cartilage bowl must be adjusted to further reduce prominence. Thirdly the prominence of the lower part of the ear called the pinna must be taken into account during the corrective procedure.

Sometimes additional problems such as cupping of the ear must be addressed. Generally all of these elements can be addressed through the use of sutures placed under the skin through a incision behind the ear close to the groove between the ear and the side of the head. Therefore all the scarring is behind the ear and as a result well hidden. The skin is closed with dissolving sutures and protective head dressing is used for comfort and to protect the ears during the healing process.

The surgery is well tolerated by children and is carried out as a day case procedure. Whilst under general anaesthetic, local anaesthetic (numbing) medication is injected into the surgical site to reduce the discomfort a child feels after surgery. Usually simple over the counter pain relief such as paracetamol (calpol) is sufficient after surgery. The head dressing is left for one week after which it is removed as part of an outpatient consultation wound check.

Children are able to return to school at this point and require only a head band dressing at night for a further 6 weeks to provide their set back ears with some gentle protection whilst they are asleep.

What are the risks of surgery?

This type of surgery has a very high success rate with high patient satisfaction. But as with all surgery there are some risks which include scarring, bleeding, infection and in some cases a degree of recurrence (when ears can occasionally drift back put again).



To book an appointment with Mr Sivakumar or for more information please call 020 7432 8329 or email


Mr Sivakumar works within London’s leading children's hospitals: Great Ormond Street Hospital, The Portland Hospital for Women and Children and the Harley Street Clinic.


Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children
NHS Foundation Trust


The Portland Hospital for Women and Children
205 - 209 Great Portland Street


Harley Street Clinic
79 Harley Street


Chiswick Outpatient Diagnostic Centre
Bond House
347-352 Chiswick High Road
W4 4HS

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If you prefer, please call 020 7305 5673 or email