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Johannesburg plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr M Fayman, gives you the low-down on this most rewarding surgical procedure…

Prominent ears are relatively common, with an incidence of about 5% of the population. Numerous studies attest to the psychological distress, emotional trauma and behavioral problems associated with this aesthetic disability, particularly in children.

When should you have it done?

Most surgeons agree the best timing to correct prominent ears in children is around six years of age at which stage the ears are nearly fully developed. At a later stage in life, this surgery is relatively uneventful and can be performed at any age with good results and minimal complications.

Is it done under local or general anesthetics?

Otoplasty (correction of prominent ears) can be performed under local or general anesthetic, depending on the surgeon’s pre-assessment of the patient. Generally, children would be operated under general an anesthetic and will stay overnight in the hospital before being discharged.

Teenage patients and adults are encouraged to have the procedure done under local anesthetic in the doctor’s Rooms. Shortly after the procedure, the patient can go home and recover in his/hers natural environment.

How is the recovery?

Children and adults would be wearing a special bandage around their head for a period of seven days. After the first week, a special head gear would have to be worn for a further period of six weeks, overnight only.

Immediately after the procedure, pain is expected to be minimal and the patient does not require more than ‘over the counter’ pain control for up to 24 hours after the procedure.

Are there any risks involved?

Complications are rare, however much like any other surgery, risks include bleeding, infection, itching of the ear and loss of sensation. Most of these are resolved within few weeks after the surgery.

Most medical aids consider the procedure to be of cosmetic nature and therefore decline cover.

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