Big ears, or prominent ears, are a congential defect. Both boys and girls may be born with them, and if nothing is done right after birth, then most people will need surgery for this issue.
There is a difference between have large ears versus prominent ears. Most people think they have large ears, but in reality, their ears actually are more prominent, and jut away from the side of the head at a larger angle than normal.
If your child is born today with prominent ears, then you probably have the option of ear cartilage molding. This is most effective literally right after birth, since the ear cartilage in newborns is very pliable. The molds can literally reshape the ear and make them less prominent.
If the mold does not work, or if your child did not wear a mold right after birth, then surgery is generally the only option that works with any consistency. In the operating room, an incision is made behind the ear, and the ear cartilage is sutured onto itself, pulling the ear back. Most patients with prominent ears have a normal amount of ear cartilage. The problem is that the ear cartilage has not formed properly. Sutures placed behind the ear pull the ear cartilage back to a more normal position, and also, keep the ear in that shape.
If you are older, or an adult, a modification of the surgery is to weaken the ear cartilage, and then place sutures. Adult ear cartilage is tougher, less pliable, and more brittle than a child’s cartilage. Simply putting in sutures may not be enough to get the best overall aesthetic shape.
In any patient, surgery is not that painful and is usually done on an out-patient basis. Occasionally, health insurance may cover patients under the age of 18. Health insurance providers will generally not cover this procedure over the age of 18.
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