Prominent ears are seen in approximately 5% of the population. This benign condition can be treated surgically to reduce or prevent psychological and social problems, most commonly in children before the start of school. Our aim was to examine the demographic characteristics of patients undergoing prominent ear surgery in Finland, and compare findings with international data.
A retrospective study of all the patients treated for prominent ears in our academic tertiary care referral center during 2007-2011 was performed to gather demographic details of operated patients. A systematic review of published series of prominent ear surgery after the year 2000 was performed to gather demographic details for international comparison.
A total of 180 patients were operated in our institution for prominent ears, most of the cases (78.9%) were bilateral. Age at operation ranged between 3 and 36 years, with mean of 9.2 y and median of 7 y. The most common reason for seeking operative treatment was aesthetic complaint, followed by bullying. Review process gathered 20 publications, describing a total of 4433 patients who had been operated for prominent ears. There was wide variation the mean age at operation, ranging 7-38 y while the mean overall was 15.0y. Gender distribution of patient samples was also very variable, with percentage of females ranging from 38 to 71% (overall 52%). There was also considerable variation in the tendency to perform unilateral operations: from 0% up to 21% of the reported population. There were no statistically significant correlations linking these demographic variables, though there was a trend that females are more likely to have this operation performed at an older age.
The treatment culture of prominent ear surgery varies substantially in international comparison. The age at which this operation is performed showed most variation. Omitting some of the basic demographic variables while reporting the results of surgery was common in the reviewed publications.