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Ear Deformities

Different varieties of ear deformities present to us. A few common problems are dealt with here.

Torn Ear lobules are of common occurrence. The ear-piercing hole gradually enlarges until it cuts through the entire lobule. A variety of procedures can be done. Ideally, complete closure of the tear along with a “Z” plasty is done. The ear is pierced again after 3 months. In a few cases, the hole can be retained, and the rest of the ear lobule repaired with a “Z” plasty. Patients are advised not to wear heavy earrings as the chances of it cutting through are greater.

Keloid’s following ear piercing’s are common. The treatment is dealt with in the section on Keloid.

Lop Ear or Shell Ear is a deformity where the upper portion of the ear is not unfurled, but is rolled over on itself and the surface is flat without the normal undulations one can see in the normal ear. This may be associated with prominent or “Bat Ear deformity” too, in a few cases. Treatment involves reshaping the cartilage in the ear via an incision placed on the posterior surface of the ear, to give a near normal shape of the external ear. The final result depend on a lot of factors like the condition of the skin of the ear, the severity of the deformity and also the state of the cartilage. After the procedure, the ear is in a bandage for 5- 7 days depending on the extent of surgery. The final result can only be appreciated after 3 months, once all the swelling subsides and the cartilage starts retaining its new position. It is a relatively safe procedure. Bleeding and infection can be a problem, but care is taken to prevent such complications. Keloid formation in susceptible individuals is a cause for concern but cannot be predicted and not a very common event.

Prominent Ears or Bat Ear deformity is a deformity where the angle between the ear and the skull is greater than normal, and hence the ears project from the side and appear more prominent, like the ears of a bat. Normally the angle is around 20 degrees, but in bat ear deformity it may be almost 45 -50 degrees in some cases. Correction involves exposing the cartilage from behind and reattaching it to the skull bone at the proper angle to provide a push back. The scars are well hidden behind the ear. Care is taken to prevent bleeding and infection. Patients require a bulky dressing as in lop ear corrections for 5- 7 days, to prevent excessive swelling and bleeding.