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Exostoses need careful management with ear drops such as Aqua Ear to help evaporate trapped water.

Additional information​

Exostoses of the ear canal are benign bony grows in the outer ear that are thought to form from cold water exposure, hence the name “Surfer’s Ear”.  Usually they cause symptoms such as water trapping and outer ear infections. 

Exostoses need medical management with the 

  • Use of ear plugs.  
  • Ear Drops if water trapping occurs.  Aqua Ear drops (which are alcohol based) help to evaporate trapped water.
  • If an infection does occur, antibiotic ear drops (such as ciloxan otic or sofradex) should clear up the infection.  Antibiotic tablets (such as cephalexin or flucloxacillin) may be required if the infection spreads into the surround tissue around the ears and starts to cause jaw pain and swelling.

If the exostoses are causing recurrent infections or significant conduction hearing loss, patients may be candidates for surgical removal (known as exostectomy or canalplasty).

Exostectomies are performed under general anaesthetic as a day surgery procedure with the surgery taking 1-3 hours.  Depending on the size and location of the lesions, your surgeon decides on

Transcanal or endaural approach – Through the ear canal 

Post Auricular through an incision behind the ear.

Recovery time is around 3 to 5 days off work.  Often multiple post operative visits are required to ensure that the canal is healing appropriately.  To watch an operation click here.

Professor / Dr Nirmal Patel

Videos relating to Exostoses

Still have a question?

Our team will be happy to answer any questions you may have about ​Exostoses.