At the London Center for Ear Aesthetics and Reconstruction, David Gault treats all types of disease and deformity of the external ear. There are a great many ways of classifying these conditions, from minor to major, aesthetic to reconstructive, and congenital (meaning present from birth) to acquired (meaning problems which develop later).
Acquired problems, such as ear cancer, chondritis (inflammation of the ear cartilage), failed pinnaplasty and deformity after trauma such as bite injuries, burns and accidents are usually corrected by surgery. Some problems present at birth can be corrected without surgery if treatment is begun early. For example, stick-out ears (prominent or bat ears) and many other types of misshapen ears obvious at birth can be treated with a simple Ear Buddies™ splint. Developed by Mr Gault to be fitted by parents themselves whilst the ear cartilage is still soft, splinting for just a few weeks can avoid surgery and the teasing that can develop whilst a child waits for an operation. If treated early, many ear tags (pre-auricular tags) or accessory (extra) auricles can also be removed without formal surgery, by means of a small clip in a clinic setting.
If uncorrected in the first few years of life by splinting, ears which stick out or have an odd shape can still be fixed in an operation usually best done after the age of 5 years, when the ear cartilage has hardened enough to hold the stitches.
Ear reconstruction for those born without ears (anotia) or with very small ears (microtia) is best delayed until the age of 10 or 11, so that cartilage can be harvested from the ribcage when it has grown large enough.
Aesthetic ear surgery, for example for large ears or ear lobes, split lobes caused by earrings or the "facelift or pixie ear", is commonly performed in adulthood.
MINOR CONGENITAL ANOMALIES
MAJOR CONGENITAL ANOMALIES - MICROTIA AND ATRESIA
ACQUIRED EAR DEFORMITY