There are frequent criticisms of procedures that are viewed as cosmetic therefore of no benefit to health. Here a German group have looked at the benefit of otoplasty on quality of life. They point out that ‘beautiful people have an advantage in many areas of life’. Here they present data from 81 patients who underwent surgery during an 18-year period. They utilised well recognised validated scoring systems, such as the Glasgow Benefit Inventory (GBI), to show that there is a significant quality of life improvement following otoplasty. They have gone on to show that the improvement is comparable to other ENT and urological procedures that have published GBI data. There is an undoubted need to produce data to justify what we do in health systems that are looking to cut resources. ENT often encompasses treatment for conditions that are not life-saving or life-extending but life enhancing. The paper highlights the WHO statement that quality of life encompasses ‘mental and social wellbeing not merely an absence of disease…’ 

The psychological and psychosocial impact of otoplasty on children and adults.
Papadopulos NA, Niehaus R, Keller E, et al.
THE JOURNAL OF CRANIOFACIAL SURGERY
2015;26:2309-14.
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Stuart Burrows

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, UK.

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