The device has been accredited for use by plastic surgeons, maxillo-facial surgeons, and plastic surgeons as well as otolaryngologists in the UK. Once the deal is through, Allergan plans to commercialize the product across Europe. Following this, Allergan said that it will continue to explore new avenues in other countries (including the United States) with the aim of eventually launching the product in these markets.
earFold™ brings hope to people suffering from protruding ears because it is implantable, minimally invasive, and promises to deliver a consistently positive outcome. The entire implant procedure can be completed in about 20 minutes in an outpatient setting.
According to the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs, protruding ears affect approximately 100 million people worldwide. Besides causing insecurities about appearance, medical experts say that protruding ears could have a considerable psychological impact on people, especially if the condition causes the person to experience bullying or teasing.
What prompted Allergan’s move into this space is the current gap that exists in the market for treating prominent ears. Conventionally, patients wanting to cure the condition had to undergo surgery (pinnaplasty or otoplasty), which, besides being painful, could also lead to scarring and infection. There have been instances where patients also had to undergo re-do procedures because of a relapse or outcomes that were not at par with expectations. Medical experts also report that several people desist from surgery after being informed about the risks.
However, that hasn’t really stopped people from undergoing surgeries to make their ears more symmetrical. The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery puts the estimates for ear surgery operations at 247,518 as of 2014. With a device such as earFold™, this number could increase in the future.