17th May 2021: Treatment no longer available
We are no longer able to offer EarFold treatment due to a national shortage of EarFold implants. No new appointments for consultation or treatment can be booked. This page remains live for information only.
EarFold is an innovative procedure for the permanent correction of prominent ears without the need for a traditional otoplasty or pinnaplasty.
Prominent ears are often associated with self-confidence concerns. Patients often wish they could change what they call their ‘sticky out ears’ or ‘bat ears’. Previously, protruding ears could only be improved with invasive surgical intervention, usually requiring a general anaesthetic and with significant discomfort and aftercare required. Compared to otoplasty and pinnaplasty, the EarFold procedure is far less invasive, offering immediate results and brings fewer side effects.
Performed under local anaesthetic, the procedure itself takes just minutes. The Consultant Plastic Surgeon will insert a small EarFold implant into the ear at a carefully chosen location. As soon as each implant is ejected from the surgical handpiece, it immediately grips the cartilage of the ear, adopting a pre-set shape to draw the ear into the desired position. Each EarFold implant is made in such a way that the ear will still be able to move in a natural way, but will spring back to its corrected shape.
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Designing the shape of your new ear in advance
One of the huge benefits of this procedure is that during the consultation, a version of the device (the ‘pre-fold’) can be clipped to the outside of the ear, to show likely results.
Please note that the implant is placed under the skin during the procedure. The gold coloured ‘pre-fold’ in the images is to help show the patient how the implant will look as part of the consultation process.
Because of this, the outcome is predictable and the patient is able to discuss with the Consultant Plastic Surgeon exactly what they would like the new shape of the ear to be.
One of the benefits of EarFold is that your procedure results can be agreed in advance with your surgeon through the use of the Pre-Fold. The Pre-Fold clips onto the outside of the ear to produce the same results that the final EarFold will have when it is implanted into the ear during your procedure.
- The procedure can be performed in less than 20 minutes under local anaesthetic with immediate correction and rapid recovery
- There are consistent and predicatable clinical outcomes
- There are fewer side effects than with traditional otoplasty or pinnaplasty surgery
The EarFold implant
EarFold is a thin medical-grade strip of Nitinol, a Nickel and Titanium metal alloy (widely used in medicine). The Earfold implants are then coated in 24 carat gold to make them virtually invisible under the skin.
The Earfold implants measure approximately 5mm across and are 0.15mm thick (the thickness of a human hair).
The ‘pre-fold’ device is clipped onto the outside of the ear as part of the consultation process. It is an ideal way to give the patient a realistic idea of the potential outcome without having to go under the knife.
These implants have been developed over a period of 10 years and have been extensively tested. Earfold implants have been designed to remain in place permanently without biocompatibility issues.
What happens during the procedure?
Before beginning, the Consultant will assess the ear(s) and marks a point to insert the implant in order to achieve the desired results. Local anaesthetic is used to numb the ear, and the area is sterilised.
A small incision, usually less than 1cm, is made into the desired part of the ear. The EarFold implant is then introduced under the skin and released. The implant takes its pre-formed, curved shape and so the ear is immediately corrected. Finally, the incision point is stitched and dressed.
The appointment will last 30 minutes, with the actual procedure taking less than 20 minutes.
Is EarFold an appropriate option for children?
EarFold is suitable for any person over 7 years of age. The huge benefit to children of this procedure above traditional surgical otoplasty or pinnaplasty is that they do not have to take the risks that are associated with a general anaesthetic.
The EarFold consultation
As EarFold surgery needs to be carefully discussed and planned, we do not offer an Online Consultation service for EarFold patients.
At your consultation, your Consultant Plastic Surgeon will examine your ears to ensure that you are suitable for treatment, use ‘pre-fold’ devices to design the new shape of your ears in advance and discuss your expectations after treatment.
Where does the procedure take place?
The procedure takes place in the Minor Operations Suite at Skin Surgery Clinic in Guiseley. We are a Care Quality Commission registered medical clinic.
After the procedure
Unlike traditional earlobe surgery, patients are able to go home immediately after the procedure to resume everyday activities. An absorbable suture and a small dressing will be applied to the ear and you may be required to wear a bandage/headband to protect the treated area. A three-day course of antibiotics will be followed as a precautionary measure. We will organise a review appointment with a Nurse to check on progress, which is free of charge.