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Causes of Protruding Ears and Treatment Options

Protruding ears may be a cute characteristic when you’re a kid, but growing into early adolescence and adulthood with ears that stick out too far from your head can be embarrassing and a source of distress. A child with prominent ears is often the target of bullying and social alienation, which can lead to long-term trauma. Due to the insecurities that come from protruding ears, many patients seek correction through cosmetic surgery.

If prominent or misshapen ears cause distress for you or your child, here’s what you need to know.

Causes of Protruding Ears

For most people, the outer ear sits on the side of the head at a 20- to 35-degree angle. When they stick out beyond this, it can be a source of negative self-esteem. Having protruding ears shouldn’t cause hearing issues and only affects a small percentage of the population. This trait typically runs in families, but sometimes it happens randomly or due to issues like these.

  • Overdevelopment of cartilage: The pinna will be more prominent if there is too much cartilage on the ear.
  • Underdevelopment of cartilage: This occurs when the ridge of the cartilage at the top of the ear doesn’t fold correctly during development in the womb, or the outer edge of the ear doesn’t fold in towards the head but rather sticks out.
  • Injury: In some rare cases, protruding ears may develop from trauma or disease.

Treatments for Protruding Ears

A skilled plastic surgeon can remedy protruding or misshapen ears with otoplasty. Also referred to as ear pinning or ear remodeling, it involves remolding and remodeling the ears. It generally involves placing small incisions behind the ears to allow for easy access and to make any scarring less visible. During the surgery, your surgeon will reshape and sculpt the ear to sit at a closer angle to the head by placing a few sutures.

Otoplasty is a relatively quick procedure, only requiring about two to three hours of work. Afterward, you will have bandages placed over your ears, and we will ensure you’re medically stable before clearing you to go home and recover.

What Are the Benefits of Otoplasty?

Otoplasty can correct various issues affecting your ears, including:

  • Asymmetry, when one ear is a different size, shape, or position than the other ear
  • Ears that are out of proportion to the rest of the facial features
  • Protruding ears
  • Birth defects
  • The bumpy disfiguration that occurs after ear trauma, also known as cauliflower ear
  • Injury or trauma
  • Ears that fold down from the top, or “lop ears”
  • Deformities due to cancer

Otoplasty is one of the only plastic surgery procedures regularly performed on children, but many adults choose to have this done, too.

Ready to Learn More About Otoplasty in Austin, TX?

Are you or someone you love struggling with prominent ears? Contact the specialists at Restora Austin and learn more about how otoplasty can help stop the bullying and alienation that comes from having “big” ears. Call us at (512) 371-8817 or fill out our online form and schedule your consultation today!

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