When the cartilage is folded back to create an antihelical fold, is it held in that position forever?

i have always wondered about one thing about otoplasty.. when the cartilage is folded back to create an antihelical fold is it held in that position forever with the non absorbable sutures or does the folded back cartilage take the new shape by fusing and healing???

Doctor Answers (4)

Long lasting sutures are used to shape the ear in otoplasty

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Usually several permanent or slowly dissolving sutures are placed to fold the ear cartilage into position and hold it securely until healing is complete, at about 6 weeks. Occasionally recurrent protrusion occurs, but can be corrected at a later time.


Peoria Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Otoplasty candidate for folding back ear cartilage

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The reason that patients have prominent ears is because of the lack of anti-helical fold in the ear. The otoplasty procedure involves  creating  the anti-helical fold and suturing it together  with permanent sutures. The otoplasty  operation is performed under local anesthesia as an outpatient surgical procedure 

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

When the cartilage is folded back to create an antihelical fold, is it held in that position forever?

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It can be taken that with the use of non-absorbable sutures, the new shape of the antihelix will be held in that position forever by these sutures. There are, however, rare cases where the ear partly or fully returns to its original position. In these cases it can be assumed that the sutures have cut into the cartilage and thereby lost their function. If there is a thread intolerance and the threads are rejected, then one must also reckon with the ears returning to the original position. The threads will then have to be replaced by threads of another chemical composition.

Waldemar Merck, MD
Germany Plastic Surgeon

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ANtihelical fold

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When I do this procedure, I use "permanent" suture material. I also Score the lining of the anterior surface of the cartilage to weaken the resistance to folding. It is my opinion that a great deal, perhaps sometimes all, of the shape is help by the scar in the long run. BUT...for sure this is not always true as sometimes the deformity may try to recur if a stitch breaks or is removed.

Robert H. Hunsaker, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.