What is the Earfold® method for correcting sail ears?

With the Earfold® method, a metal clip is placed under the skin on the front of the ear on the cartilage. The tension of the clamp forces the auricular cartilage to fold at the desired location. The shape of the Earfold® clips leads to a new inner ear fold (anthelix). The Earfold® implants have no influence on a protruding earlobe or an enlarged ear cavity.

What are Earfold® Clips?

Earfold® is an implant that has been used since 2016 to form the inner ear fold. The Earfold® Clip is made of a nickel-titanium alloy and has a gold coating. An Earfold® clip is 0.15 millimeters thick and weighs 0.068 grams. The implant is comparable to a U-shaped metal clip. The tension of the Earfold® clamp folds the auricular cartilage, creating an inner ear fold (anthelix). The Earfold® clips are equipped with tips so that they do not slip on the cartilage. There is only one uniform size of Earfold® clamps. The Earfold® Implant has a preset tension. Unlike the suturing technique, it cannot be adjusted after use. Earfold® clips are marketed by Allergan.

Can the effect of Earfold® clips be tested beforehand?

To test the effect of the Earfold® implant, there are so-called Prefold® clamps. The Prefold® clamp is attached to the auricle like an ear clip. Applying the Prefold® Clip also helps to determine the optimal position and alignment of the Earfold® Clip. If required, several Prefold® clamps can be attached to one ear to form a harmonious ear fold.

To ensure that the result is what you want, it is important to try the Prefold® clamps before the procedure. The size, shape and tension of the Prefold® clamps is the same as for the Earfold® clips. If satisfactory correction is not achieved with the Prefold® Clip, additional corrections to the ear cavity or earlobe may be required.

How are Earfold® clips created?

The Earfold® clips are placed in the desired position with a special instrument. The procedure can be performed under local anesthesia. The implant is inserted through a skin incision at the front of the ear, near the outer ear fold.

What are the risks with the Earfold® method?

With the Earfold® method, only the inner ear fold (anthelix) can be reproduced. Other features of protruding ears such as a protruding earlobe or an enlarged ear cavity are not corrected. The Earfold® method produces a bend in the ear fold which, unlike suturing, is not adjusted individually. The shape and expression of the inner ear fold can therefore appear somewhat unnatural. The uniform size, shape and tension of the implants lead to different results depending on the shape, thickness and hardness of the ear cartilage. Implants must not be used for nickel allergies. If the skin is very thin, the implant can be palpable or visible on the auricle. Risks such as secondary bleeding, inflammation, wound healing disorders and the formation of bulging or proliferating scars also exist with this minimally invasive method.

Four advantages of the Earfold® method

  1. The incision is smaller.
  2. The recovery time is shorter.
  3. It is not necessary to wear a headband.
  4. The treatment result can be illustrated in advance by using the Prefold® clamp.

Author's statement

Author: Stéphane Stahl, MD, PhD. There are no financial relationships with the pharmaceutical or medical device industries that could have influenced the above text. Any reproduction, even partial, is permitted for personal use only. All texts used on this website are protected by copyright.

 

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