Why do plastic surgeons need to correct prominent ears?

Correcting prominent ears in children can have a profoundly positive effect on their psychological well being. This is backed up by the findings of a number of studies including the Leeds study that stated: "Children and their families were assessed preoperatively and again 12 months postoperatively. It was found that whilst prominent ear correction improved the well-being of 90% of the children, there was a small group of acutely distressed children who remained dissatisfied with outcome. These were children who were socially isolated prior to surgery. Careful screening and referral back to the family doctor of the more distressed children is recommended."

One of the most important factors is naturally ensuring that the surgeon is skilled, and highly experienced in this operation. The Royal Free Hospital specialist ear surgeon, Mr Greg O'toole in his article 'Correcting Prominent Ears' says: "Prominence of the ears is a very common condition that often causes sufferers significant distress. Teasing at school frequently begins at around 6 or 7 years of age and although some children cope perfectly well and are unconcerned many become quite upset as a result. In adulthood, some people learn to adapt but others continue to be very aware and self-conscious of the prominence of their ears."

He goes on to say, "Surgical correction of prominent ears is a highly effective procedure in adults and children. This is delicate but routine surgery to those experienced in the techniques. The ideal surgeon would be a plastic surgeon experienced in ear reconstruction as he or she will operate on ears on a very frequent basis."

The key message is that this is straightforward surgery, but should only be performed by a skilled and experienced plastic surgeon, who is used to operating on children. The operation can have life changing benefits.

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