Earfold – What is it?
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 and acquired a CE mark in April 2015. http://www.earfold.com/how-it-works/
This is an exciting introduction because it is likely to open up the option of corrective surgery to many ‘less bothered’ patients who 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. Also, trial clips can be fitted over the skin in the clinic consultation to give a good preview ‘what you see is what you get’ idea of whether it may give an acceptable result for the patient 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.
Data presented by the London inventor Dr Kang on 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). In 2016, the London co-inventor 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).
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 Allergen with Earfold devices.