Earfold

 

 

Prominent Ear Correction Using the Earfold Device

The Earfold is latest technology to create folds in a prominent ear, also known as big ears, bat ears, or sticky out ears.  It is a revolutionary technique that is quick and effective when compared to traditional pinnaplasty (ear correction) procedures.

Prominent ears can be so for one of two reasons. The most common reason is the failure of the development of a anti-helical fold.  The anti-helical fold is the natural fold of the ear that is flat in patients with prominent ears. The Earfold will address this issue immediately and effectively. The other reason to have prominent ears is a deep bowl of the ear, called the concha. This can separate to the lack of the anti-helical fold or combined. The deep conchal bowl can only be treated using a traditional pinnaplasty procedure. Mr Souéid uses the Prefold as part of his consultations. The Prefold is exactly the same as the Earfold but designed to be applies to the outside of the ear, thus giving the same result as the earfold and gives the patient the chance to actually visualise how the ear will look with an Earfold device. 

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 Duration – 35 to 45 Minutes

 Hospital stay – Daycase

 Costs – from £2500

 Return to work – 1 to 2 Days

 Location – Birmingham

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Frequently Asked Questions

How is the Earfold performed?

Earfold is performed under local anaesthesia and the actual procedure takes less than 20 minutes.  Mr Souéid will apply the Prefold device again to ensure you are happy with position again and this is then marked on the ear. A small amount of local anaesthetic is used to numb the area of the ear.  A small 8mm incision is made on the front of the ear on the front. After dissecting a space, the Earfold introducer is used and the Earfold is released and instantly the cartilage folds to create the antihelical fold. The incision are stitched closed with dissolving sutures and the procedure complete.

What will it be like after the procedure?

There might be some bruising after the procedure. Some degree of swelling can occur too. Small steristrips are used to cover the wounds. Unlike traditional surgery there is no need for a bulky head dressing afterwards.  The stitches used will normally fall out after about 2 weeks.

What are the potential complications after Earfold?

There will often be some bruising and swelling following the procedure.  This will normally resolve by about 2 weeks.  The scar will be on the front of the ear and this may be visible although with time it will fade.  Sometimes scars can become hypertrophic or keloid.  Most people will have some degree of asymmetry before the procedure and this will remain afterwards.  Less common complications include: visibility of the clips under the skin; residual prominence that may require additional clips; extrusion of the device; skin necrosis; irregularities; cauliflower ear deformity; haematoma.

What is Earfold made of?

Earfold® is a thin, curved, metal strip made of nitinol. Nitinol is a lightweight alloy made from two metals, titanium and nickel, and is widely used in medicine. Earfold® is just 5 mm wide, 15 mm long and approximately 0.15 mm thick, weighing 0.068 grams. It is coated with 24-carat gold, to reduce visibility under your skin.

Can you choose the position before the procedure?

At your initial assessment with your consultant, if you are suitable to be treated with Earfold, you’ll be able to decide how far you would like your ears corrected. You and your consultant can talk through where to place the implants using small temporary positioners called Prefold®, so that you can choose and agree how your ears will look BEFORE the permanent implants are put in on the day of your procedure.

What should I expect after the procedure?

The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic and so the ears will remain numb for a few hours afterwards. Once this wears off you will expect some mild pain and discomfort. This is usually controlled with simple painkillers such as paracetamol.

The ears will have tape dressings covering them for the first week after the procedure. These can normally be removed after a week. There will be stitches in place and these are usually removed at 2 weeks. At this point the wounds are usually fully healed.

You can expect some bruising and swelling after the procedure. These usually last from 2-4 weeks but may be longer in some patients. In in the initial few weeks the ears may be slightly more sensitive.

What can I do and not do after the procedure?

You should wear a headband for the first 6 weeks following your procedure at night. This will protect the ears during sleep. You should also sleep on your back for the first 4 weeks. In the first 2-3 days we also recommend sleep with 2-3 pillows under your head to keep the head up to reduce bleeding and swelling.

When can I exercise after the Earfold?

We normally recommend avoiding strenuous exercise for the first 4 weeks. You can resume normal activities such as working or normal walking immediately afterwards. Contact sports should be avoided for the first 6 weeks.

Can I smoke before and after the Earfold procedure?

We would recommend avoiding smoking for 4 weeks before and after the procedure. This includes all nicotine replacement such as patches, gum and e-cigarettes. The nicotine reduces the blood supply to the ear and this can result in increased risks of complications. This includes skin necrosis, which is the breakdown of the skin over the implant that will then leave the implant exposed and require removal of the clip.

Is the Earfold detected by metal detectors?

This is the most common question we are asked by patients having the procedure. The Earfold should not set off airport metal detectors.  It is composed of metals that do not normally trigger the alarm.

Can I have an allergic reaction to the Earfold?

Earfold® implants are made from a lightweight metal alloy called nitinol, coated with 24-carat gold to reduce visibility under your skin. Both substances are widely used in many other healthcare products because they are biocompatible (i.e. they should not react to your body). It is possible though for individuals to have allergic reactions to many different substances. If you think you could be allergic to any of the metals that make up Earfold®, do speak to your consultant before having the implants.

Does Earfold leave a scar?

Most forms of traditional ear surgery (also known as otoplasty) leave a scar behind the ear where an incision has been made. Earfold® only requires a small incision (eight to ten millimetres long) therefore results in a small scar. In the majority of the ears the scar is almost imperceptible after a few months.

Can you see the Earfold under the skin?

The Earfold clips are placed directly under the skin on the front of ear.  The skin of the ear in some patients is thin and so the implants may be visible.  The gold plating should make the clips less visible when in place.

Do the Earfolds remain in permanently?

The Earfold clips are designed to remain in place permanently.  They can be removed if desired in the future but the ear prominence may recur.

Can I have Earfold if I have previously had pinnaplasty?

Some patients that have had pinnaplasty or otoplasty previously may have recurrence of their prominent ears.  The Earfold may be used in such patients that have previously had ear surgery.

What should I do after the procedure?

Earfold® has been designed to be as minimally invasive as possible, but it is a medical treatment, so there are a few things to bear in mind after the procedure:

  • Because of the local anaesthetic your ears will feel a little numb for a while (like after you’ve been to the dentist for a filling).
  • You may also feel some minor pain after the procedure, which should fade within a couple of days.
  • There may be some swelling or bruising, but this will fade over the week following the treatment.
  • Your ears may feel a little more sensitive for a while, so although it’s fine to wash your hair or shower, be gentle.
  • You should try and sleep on your back for up to four weeks to avoid pressure on your ears.
  • Try and avoid swimming or contact sports for four weeks or so to let the implants settle.
  • Avoid wearing earrings for two weeks or so to reduce any risk of infection.
  • Try not to smoke for 3 months, because nicotine reduces the blood supply to your ear, which greatly increases the risk of complications. This is also true of e-cigarettes and nicotine patches or chewing gum.

How much does Earfold cost?

The cost of Earfold will depend on the number of clips used and where it is performed.  Most patients will require 1 clip in each ear and so 2 clips in total.  The price for 2 clips starts from £2550.

Why choose earfold procedure

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Earfold step by step

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