Skin tags in front of the ears (also known as accessory auricles) are congenital abnormalities involving the fetal developmental stages. The tags can be skin only or can harbor some cartilages.
There is no medical significance of these skin tags except that these can be accompanied with other congenital abnormalities and syndromes like Goldenhar syndrome (oculo-auriculo-verterbral syndrome) and Wildervanck syndrome.
The treatment involves excision of the tags. Depending on the size of the tag, it can be removed in the office with local anesthesia or in case of a large mass an excision is done in the operating room under general anesthesia.
It is advisable to get this done before school age. These tags can become a source of ridicule or teasing among peers.
Q. My son is only a month old, he was born with a tag in front of his ear, when can I get it removed?
A. As soon as you want. The in-office removal of these tags is simple, fast and safe. You can apply the numbing cream ‘Emla’ on the area and after waiting for a 30 minutes give an injection of lidocaine to ensure a painless removal. Then fine surgical scissors can be used to remove it without any pain to the child. The raw area of excision can be cauterized at the same time. After one week of local wound care using hydrogen peroxide and antibiotic ointment it should heal well.
Q. Do ear tags affect hearing?
A. No. Initially there was some concern that a congenital abnormality like this could indicate possible inner ear abnormality causing hearing loss. It has not been proven by research. Also, most children born in United States get a hearing screening before they leave the hospital.
Q. Do I have to remove ear tags?
A. No, medically speaking there are no known detrimental affects to ear tags.
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