Mr Blackburn first to introduce Earfold™ to Spire Cheshire hospital

Posted in Uncategorised on 8th July 2016 by Liberonet-FacialAdminLiberonet-FacialAdmin.

This is an innovative memory-fold foil clip which is inserted under local anaesthesia to ‘fold and hold’ the new shape of a prominent ear. It is made of Nitinol and gold plated. It was invented in London (work starting in 2002) and acquired a CE mark in April 2015. http://www.earfold.com/how-it-works/

This is an interesting introduction because it is likely to open up the option of corrective surgery to many patients who are ‘less bothered’ and have not been inclined to go through 2 hours of surgery to have a correction, but may consider 20 minutes of having this fitted (it is fired into place with a small delivery gun). Indeed, many more mature adult patients may now reconsider having a correction with this option being established. Also, trial clips called ‘Prefolds’ made of the same memory-fold gold plated nitinol can be fitted over the skin in the clinic consultation to give a good preview. This allows a  ‘what you see is what you get’ opportunity for you to see whether it may give an acceptable result for you while looking in the mirror. About 60-70% of patients are likely to be suitable to have the device fitted. Unlike conventional otoplasty surgery, there is NO need to wear a bandage or head band after having Earfold fitted. There is a period of healing with bruising, swelling and removal of stitches at 5 days after surgery.

What are the risks of Earfold?:

Data presented by the London inventor Dr Kang in 2015: 403 patients showed 0 recurrences of ear prominence and a lower total complication rate (8.1%) than conventional otoplasty: (14.7% with cartilage scoring; 27.8% with suture techniques; 8.8-38% with combined cartilage scoring and suture techniques). The 8.1% total complication rate was comprised by those with infection (1.7%), exposure of the clip (3% – mostly smokers), need for reoperation (3.7%). By 2016, the London co-inventor Dr Sajitra had fitted 212 implants to 134 patients with 1 of 134 causing significant bruising, 5 of 134 mildly visible (the initial clips were grey, now they are gold plated), 4 of 134 requiring removal (2.9%) giving a total complication rate of 9/134 patients (6.7% total). The material is made of nickel and titanium alloy – but treated in manufacture to bind the nickel and coat the whole device in 24 carat gold – so the CE mark approves it for use and no patients have reported an allergy to the device to date.

Mr Blackburn is the first surgeon to introduce this to Spire Cheshire hospital – having been trained as one of the first phase of implementers for Allergen. Only trained and validated surgeons can be supplied by Allergan with Earfold devices. Allergen is a global company making many well known products – such as Botox botulinum toxin and Juvederm, Restylane temporary fillers among other many products in their portfolio.

Illustrative costs for Earfold with Mr Blackburn are as follows (inclusive care of all surgical costs – after the initial consultation fee):

Earfold 2 implants (one per ear) under local anaesthetic in outpatient minor procedure unit: £2395

Earfold 4 implants (two per ear) under local anaesthetic in outpatient minor procedure unit: £3749