Inventor(s): Dr Norbert Kang
Member Trust: West Hertfordshire NHS Foundation Trust

Key Benefits to Technology:

  • EarFold™ is a novel implant manufactured from a high technology memory metal, offering a new approach to treat patients with prominent ears.
  • Quick and effective procedure performed under local anaesthetic.
  • Fewer side effects than otoplasty surgery and is less invasive.
  • On the market being offered to patients worldwide.

Technology Summary:

Prominent ears affect an estimated 5-10% of the UK population. Although the condition poses no health issues it can be a distressing and demoralising affliction. Treatment is by plastic surgery but this is usually reserved for patients in the greatest distress currently equating to 167,700 ear-pinning procedures worldwide in 2011 giving EarFold™ a potential addressable market of £191 million per annum.

EarFold™ is a pioneering implant technology as an alternative to conventional otoplasty surgery in the correction of prominent ears. A minimally invasive technique, the procedure takes 20 minutes under local anaesthetic as an outpatient, compared to the traditional two hours in general surgery. Overall patient outcomes are improved with reduced risk of keloid scaring and cartilage damage, less chance of infection, faster recovery times and improved symmetry when both ears are being corrected.

The EarFold™ technology was spun out of West Hertfordshire NHS Foundation Trust in 2010 as Northwood Medical Innovation Ltd raising around £1.1million in external investment. Prior to incorporation, over £100k was invested by HEE to prove the concept, secure patents internationally, undertake detailed market research and define a product development plan. EarFold™ received a CE mark in April 2015, and has been made available to trained and accredited surgeons in the UK, Spain, Portugal, South Africa and Croatia. Northwood Medical Innovation was acquired by Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN) in October 2015.