Techniques for Correction of Prominent Ears

Otoplasty is the surgical correction of prominent ears. Dr. Goldman is triple board-certified, having completed residency training and certification in both plastic surgery and otolaryngology/head and neck surgery. This gives him unique expertise in performing procedures such as otoplasty surgery and rhinoplasty (nasal reshaping). Dr. Goldman has extensive experience with reconstruction of ears for congenital deformities, traumatic deformities, and defects resulting from cancer treatment. Prominent ears represent a mild to moderate congenital deformity, so their correction represents an overlap of cosmetic and reconstructive facial plastic surgery.

Various techniques exist for correction of prominent ears, but several basic maneuvers are common with  otoplasty surgery:

  1. Defining and emphasizing the fold in the cartilage (the antihelical fold) just inside the rim of the ear;
  2. Reducing the angle between the head and the ear (the conchocephalic angle), to bring the ear closer in to the head;
  3. Removing cartilage in the bowl of the ear (the conchal bowl);
  4. making the earlobe shorter;
  5. Occasionally reducing the vertical height of the ear.

Dr. Goldman uses these maneuvers during Otoplasty surgery in Cleveland resulting in an incision hidden behind the ear.

Risks with otoplasty surgery.

Bleeding, infection, and anesthetic complications can happen with any surgery. With otoplasty surgery, specific risks include auricular hematoma (bleeding around the ear cartilage) and chondritis (infection of the cartilage)—either of which can cause distortion of the ear (a so-called cauliflower ear). Long-term recurrence rates of some degree of prominent ear deformity are approximately 15%. Asymmetry is common prior to surgery and is generally improved but not totally eliminated.

At what age is Otoplasty performed?

In children, otoplasty surgery is commonly performed at age 5 or 6, before the start of kindergarten or first grade. However, it is also common for this procedure to be performed in teenagers and adults.

Does insurance cover this procedure?

Insurance coverage is usually not attainable for this otoplasty surgery procedure, except in cases of fairly severe deformity. Coverage in general is more likely for children than adults.

Other concerns.

Other ear problems have to be ruled out at the initial consultation with a thorough medical history and physical examination, including examination of the ears with an otoscope. Hearing tests are not necessary unless the patient has a history of possible hearing problems.

See before and after photographs, in our Photo Gallery.

To receive more information on Otoplasty please e-mail us at info@drgoldman.com or call our office at 216.514.8899.