How does Earfold® work?
The Earfold® implant has a pre-set, curved shape. On the day of the treatment, the consultant puts the implants in place under a local anaesthetic in about 20 minutes. The consultant inserts it into your ear using a small handheld device that holds the implant flat. Once in position and released, Earfold® takes up its curved shape again, repositioning your ear at the angle you and your consultant agreed on. The results are quick, so you won't have to wait long to see the effect, and recovery time is short, so you should be able to return to work as soon as you feel comfortable, with bruising and swelling gone within a week.
To see how Earfold® works, watch the video here.
Is Earfold® suitable for all types of ear prominence?
Earfold® is designed to be of most benefit to people with poor development of the antihelical fold, which is the cause of the majority of prominent ears. However, in some cases, prominence is due to having a deep conchal bowl. If this is the sole cause of your ear prominence, Earfold® may not be right for you. Find a consultant.
Can children have Earfold®?
Yes, Earfold® has been designed to treat prominent ears in children aged seven and above. For more information about Earfold® and children, click here.
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 of your ears before surgery?
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.
How long does it take to insert Earfold®?
Earfold® has been designed to reposition prominent ears quickly. It should take about 20 minutes to complete the whole procedure for two ears, and may take even less.
What happens if Earfold® moves?
Earfold® implants are made from a lightweight metal alloy called nitinol, a super-elastic material. So your ears can still move in a natural way, and Earfold® is designed to keep its desired shape.
Is Earfold® permanent? If not, how long can it be left in?
The Earfold® implants are biocompatible and are designed to be left in place permanently. That said, if for whatever reason you are not completely happy with Earfold®, the implant can be removed. Simply speak to your Earfold® consultant and they will talk you through your options.
Can I have an allergic reaction to 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.
Do I need to take time off work?
The Earfold® procedure has been designed to be minimally invasive, typically takes about 20 minutes for both ears, and is performed under local anaesthetic. Pain typically subsides in 24-48 hours and no bandages are required so you should be able to return to work as soon as you feel comfortable.
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 implants after they’ve been inserted into the ear?
Earfold® implants are coated with 24-carat gold to reduce visibility under your skin, so they cannot be easily seen.
Am I likely to have complications with Earfold®?
Earfold® has been thoroughly tested and has been shown to have comparable rates of complications to traditional otoplasty.