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How Noticeable Are the Scars After an Otoplasty?

I want a permanent fix for my "dumbo ears" (big and sticking out) because I'm sick of wearing hats to cover them up and it seems like otoplasty is my only option...but I am afraid I'll end up more self-conscious about my ears if there are scars there plus everyone will know I had ear surgery.
What I want to know is - Where do they cut into you during ear surgery and are the scars really noticeable?

Doctor Answers 74

Scars from Otoplasty

Otoplasty (ear shaping) is performed primarily for "prominent ears" that are typically sticking out from head and usually less defined. This appearance can sometimes make someone more self conscious or the object of teasing (ie "Dumbo Ears"). The goal of Otoplasty is to reshape the ear to a more natural appearance and position.

The scars from an Otoplasty (ear surgery) are not visible as they are placed in the crease where the ear attaches to the scalp (post auricular sulcus).

The results are quite significant and make patients feel both more confident with themselves and less self conscious.

Hope that helps!

Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

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Prominent Ears: Otoplasty and Minimizing Scars

Minimizing Scars with Otoplasty

Scars and incision placement are an important part of otoplasty surgery. There are four basic approaches to otoplasty or correction of 'dumbo ears.' Experience of the surgeon influences results. The four types of surgery are as follows:

  • Conchomastoid sutures: Furnas technique
  • Conchoscaphoid sutures: restoring antihelical fold
  • Anterior scoring of the cartilage: Stenstrom's to bend the ear back.
  • Excision of posterior skin

All of these procedures are performed with hidden scars to minimize the risk of scar.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Scars and otoplasty

Typically scars are placed in the fold between your scalp and ears. Scars are permanent but it is unusual to be able to see this scar unless you fold the ear forward.

In the immediate post-op period you may have swelling and bruising that may give away that you've had a correction but after that resolves it should be very difficult to tell that you've had an otoplasty.

I hope this helps.

Steven Williams, MD

No one will see the scars


You are not alone. Otoplasty is a very common procedure. Fortunately, the entire surgery can be done through small incisions in the crease behind your ear. After severel weeks, no one will be able to tell you had surgery (except, of course, by seeing the improvement in the projection of your ears).

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Not noticeable at all

Incisions made during otoplasty are well hidden in the natural creases of your ears. They should be barely noticeable, even to yourself! The incisions are made usually behind your ear, so they won't be visible from the front at all, and you won't be able to see them easily from behind either.

How Noticeable Are the Scars After an Otoplasty?

The scar is hidden behind the ear and once healing is complete the scar is barely noticeable.
After surgery, since the ear comes closer to your head, the gap is smaller and hence the scar is hardly visible.
Some Surgeons make a cut in the front of the ear, but even this is hidden deep in the hollow and is barely noticeable over time

Scarring Following Otoplasty/ Incision Placement

When otoplasty is performed the incision is made on the back of the ear.  This location is excellent for hiding scars.  The scars are typically placed in the depth of the retro auricular area, where there hard to see.  In addition, over the course of time these scars lighten and become almost imperceptible.

Self-esteem, self-image, and self-confidence can all be adversely impacted by prominent ears.  Under these circumstances, otoplasty can be a life changing experience.  The possibility of scarring is minimal with this procedure and shouldn’t be a reason for not proceeding with surgery.

If you’re considering otoplasty consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is appropriate.  This surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses your concern.

Noticeable scars after an otoplasty

 The incision for the otoplasty is located in a post auricular sulcus behind the ear and is not noticeable at all. Since the back of the ear is closer to the head, it  is almost impossible to see the incision

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Incisions with Otoplasty

The incisions I use for otoplasty are behind the ear and not visible for the vast majority of patients within a few months after surgery.  Patients of African American or non-caucasian ancestry are more likely to need treatment of the incision areas after surgery to have incisions which maximally fade.  I would not let the worry of hidden incision prevent you from the benefits and joy of a nicely healed otoplasty result!   Please do research to find the most qualified plastic surgeon in your area.

Stephen Bresnick, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Scars from Otoplasty are very difficult to notice

The scar from otoplasty are inconspicuous since the incisions rest in the crease between your ears and and your head. Even in people with very short hair it is hard to see the scars. It is the same place where we place scars behind the ears for facelifting surgery.

The only exception is in those with a history of keloids or heavy hypertrophic scarring. If you have that history, let your physician know and it might be possible to still do the surgery, but place steroids in the incision line during and after surgery to reduce scar formation.

Michael M. Kim, MD

Michael M. Kim, MD
Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 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.