earFold™ – FAQ’s
earFold – FAQ’s
How does earFold™ work?
earFold™ reshapes your ears in a simple procedure lasting a few minutes. A local anaesthetic injection is used to completely numb the ear. The earFold™ implant is then introduced under the skin of the ear through a small incision. Once in place, earFold™ grips the cartilage of the ear and immediately adopts a pre-set shape thereby creating an anti-helical fold. This reduces the prominence of your ear. The incision is then closed. While in place, earFold™ remoulds the cartilage of the ear allowing it to maintain its new shape. Since earFold™ is made from highly elastic material, your ear can still be moved in a natural way and will always spring back into its corrected position
What is earFold™ made of?
earFold™ is a thin, curved, metal strip made of Nitinol. Nitinol is an alloy that is made from two metals, titanium and nickel, and is widely used in medicine. It is the same material that is used for coronary artery stents (for patients with heart disease due to a blockage of their arteries) and also for unbreakable spectacle frames. The earFold™ implant has been plated with 24-carat gold to reduce its visibility. The earFold™ implant has undergone extensive laboratory and human clinical testing over a period of several years.
How long does it take to insert earFold™?
This will depend on the number of implants needed to correct your ear prominence. However the whole procedure (making an incision, inserting earFold™ and closing the incision) should take no longer than 15 minutes.
Is earFold™ suitable for children?
earFold™ is suitable for both children and adults. If a child is old enough to co-operate with having a local anaesthetic injection, then the child is suitable for treatment with earFold™. Children as young as 7 years of age have been treated without difficulty.
Is earFold™ suitable for all types of ear prominence?
Those who will benefit most from earFold™ are individuals with prominent ears due to an absence or poor development of the anti-helical fold. This is the case for most people with prominent ears and, as a result, the majority of these individuals will benefit from treatment with earFold™. However, in some cases, prominence can also be due to a very deep conchal bowl. In such cases, earFold™ may be able to improve the prominence but will not correct it altogether and additional procedures (such as a conchal bowl reduction) may be necessary. Either way, your surgeon will be able to advise you during the consultation..
Is earFold™ suitable for asymmetric prominence of the ears?
Some people suffer from asymmetric ears (e.g. one ear is more prominent than the other). The earFold™ implant is the perfect treatment for such cases as it is possible to ensure that the implants are placed in just the right position to achieve satisfactory symmetry.
How much correction can be achieved with earFold™?
For the first time in cosmetic surgery, earFold™ will provide you with a unique opportunity to select the precise amount of correction that you want rather than leaving it to the discretion of the surgeon. At your first visit to the surgeon, you will be able to decide how much of a correction you want. To do this, the surgeon will use earFold™ sizers which are placed onto the outside of your ear to help determine the optimum location for the implant. The sizers are also made of nitinol and are the same size and shape as the actual earFold™ implant. To achieve the desired correction, one or two earFold™ implants are used in each ear.
Does earFold™ need to be removed or can it be left in permanently?
The earFold™ implants have been designed to be completely biocompatible and are left in place permanently.
Norbert Kang is a Consultant Plastic Surgeon based at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. Following a number of notable, personal experiences when treating patients with prominent ears, Mr. Kang developed a particular interest in otoplasty surgery. This interest eventually led him to invent the earFold™ implant, with the specific intention of providing patients with a minimally invasive, local anaesthetic procedure as an alternative to conventional otoplasty surgery.
Ongoing clinical research & trials
The earFold™ implant has been approved for sale in Europe having undergone clinical trials which were concluded at the end of 2013. The implant is available to the general public.