I believe this is what is called Darwin's tubercle on my left ear. How to fix it? (Photo)

I have this deformity this birth, and I would like to get it removed if possible. What is the procedure, how much of a scar would I have? I would also like to know the average cost, if the insurance would cover it, or if I can use HSA? Thank you in advance.

Doctor Answers 8

Plastic Surgery of the Ear

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Thank you for your question. Darwin's tubercle is a congenital ear condition which often presents as a thickening on the helix at the junction of the upper and middle thirds. This is a normal anatomic variant present in about 10% of the population. If the appearance of this condition causes concern, it can be improved with a minor surgical procedure performed under local anesthesia in the office. This is typically not covered by insurance as it is considered cosmetic. Following surgery, the ear displays a more smooth contour and the incision site is usually not noticeable.

Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 137 reviews

Darwin's Tubercle

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You are correct.  This is a Darwin's tubercle.  This cartilage outgrowth in the helical rim can be easily removed in the office under local anesthesia with a minimal scar and great result.

Steve Byrd, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Ear reshaping surgery in San Diego

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Dear hello, thank you for your question. Ear pinning surgery or otoplasty involves reshaping or reducing the cartilage and skin of the ear to obtain a more attractive appearance. Consult with a board certified facial plastic surgeon to see if you are a candidate for ear surgery. Good Luck!

Roy A. David, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon

Ear deformity

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You are correct in your diagnosis and there are many simple office procedures that can address it.  But its not likely to be covered unless you have psych issues and can prove it after being evaluated as it truly is a minor variant of ears.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Corrective ear surgery

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You do have a prominent Darwin's tubercle on the left ear and it could be corrected through a small, inconspicuous incision on the ear and with reshaping/removal of the cartilage that is causing the bulge.  It is difficult to say if this could be covered by your insurance since your company may not consider it "medically necessary."  You would have to seek out a local surgeon to find out the charges for this procedure. 

I believe this is what is called Darwin's tubercle on my left ear. How to fix it?

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As you’ve had this feature since birth, it is most probably a Darwin’s tubercle which is particularly big in your case and only present in one ear. It can be easily removed by a small excision. I don’t know whether this procedure is paid by the medical insurance in your country. You will have to ask the surgeon performing the procedure about the cost.

Waldemar Merck, MD
Germany Plastic Surgeon

I believe this is what is called Darwin's tubercle on my left ear. How to fix it?

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Yes, Darwinian tubercles can be highly variable in shape but this appears to be one. A small incision can be hidden inside the rim of your ear or on the backside of the ear and that cartilage can be shaved down. This typically creates a smooth contour and a scar that is very difficult to detect. I hope this information is helpful.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon

Darwinian tubercle

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Darwin tubercle can be shaved through an incision near the tubercle.
Samir Shureih MD. FACS

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

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.