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  • Life - Style
  • Updated: June 21, 2021

Elf Ears: The Latest Cosmetic Surgery Craze In China

China's plastic surgery industry is booming — in 2017, it became the second-biggest plastic surgery market globally. An “elf ear”, a birth defect that results in a pointed ear shape, is now the latest trend among young Chinese as more people are queueing outside cosmetic clinics to get the procedure done.

Turning the ears into an elf-like shape has become one of the most sought-after procedures among China’s post-2000s generation recently as the popular belief is that elongating the ears will make the face look thinner and younger.

The two common methods for obtaining the look include adding a piece of artificial material or cartilage from other parts of the body to the area behind the ear or injecting hyaluronic acid.

However, the elf ears procedure is not without risks.

Doctors warn that the risks include infection, cicatrices, asymmetrical ears, infection, allergic reactions, blood clots, and skin necrosis. Injecting large amounts of hyaluronic acid into the ear may also cause pronounced and prolonged swelling and pain since there are many nerve endings in the ear.

Image Source: ScoopCube

According to Liu Yufeng, chief physician of the plastic surgery division at the Second Hospital of Nanjing, “The first is an infection around the ear after surgery, which is very tricky to treat; the second is an embolism caused by injecting hyaluronic acid into blood vessels, which may be fatal”

Two of the surgeons who spoke to the South China Morning Post said that while the procedure is certainly a fad, it is likely to fade.

Yu Wenlin, a doctor at Guangzhou's Gaoshang Medical Cosmetic Center, said, "I dare to say that after this 'elf ear' frenzy, there would be an army of beauty seekers requesting to get their original ears back, just like those 'online celebrity nose,' 'European-style double-fold eyelids,' etc., that once were very popular"

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