Copyright © 2004 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001 USA.
18 March 2005 (online)
Approximately 5% of the population has protruding ears, and in almost all of these individuals, the condition is congenital. It is, therefore, the most frequent malformation of the head and neck. Iatrogenic protruding ears are rare and can occur after tympanoplasty via a posterior approach.
Many phrases are known for this abnormality in the lay population, such as sailing ears, bat ears, or Dumbo or Spock ears, with each term having a sense of teasing in common and leading to the condition's typical psychosocial burden. Either this encumbrance itself or the parent's desire to avoid its negative consequences is the main reason for the search for qualified treatment for most children.
Otoplasty for protruding ears is one of the most common procedures in facial plastic surgery. Facial plastic surgery without involving the auricle is unimaginable. Various techniques have been advocated over the centuries, many of which are more or less slight modifications of one another. These techniques can be classified into different groups. To prepare this issue, I have asked well-experienced colleagues to describe their favorite technique. I am glad they did and would like to thank them for their support. In addition, Pirsig gives us a little insight into his tremendous collection of human abnormalities in art.
Not only for the beginner but also for the advanced surgeon the key and most difficult question is which technique to use. Of course every simple answer to this simple question would be insufficient. Nevertheless, let me try to approach the issue from my personal experience: I believe that one technique is not enough-each technique tried out seldom is too much, but few techniques mastered and adapted to the individual abnormality is what I try to teach my residents.
Which techniques we prefer and when we use them are presented in my personal synopsis at the end of this issue. Probably not all colleagues will agree with it, but I hope all facial plastic surgeons-the ones in the beginning of their training as well as the advanced colleagues-will find some ideas and new aspects of this surgery in this issue of Facial Plastic Surgery.