I'm Currently Researching a Potential Cosmetic Surgery for my Ears?

My particular case is one of extreme protrusion, I would like this corrected to look "natural." The second issue is that the tops of my ears come to an extreme point. "Elf like" would be a well suited reference. What can I expect overall as far as correcting both issues and having the results look great? My ears are unfortunately the first and last thing everyone remembers me by. My last question, are there any board certified plastic surgeons who specialize in ear surgery within the midwest?

Doctor Answers 3

Surgery to correct ears

Dear ACS,

  • Yes, both problems can be addressed at the same time
  • The pointy part can likely just be removed underneath the skin
  • Dr. John Rhee is a great facial plastic surgeon in the Milwaukee area, worth the drive, he does excellent work
  • Dr. Rhee literally wrote the chapter on otoplasty surgery

Best regards,

Nima Shemirani

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

Finding Otoplasty Surgeon?

Tank you for the question.
It sounds like you may benefit from otoplasty surgery. Basically, otoplasty is performed to correct excess protrusion of the ears and to place them in a more normal, less conspicuous position. It should be noted that both ears are never exactly alike, even in the normal state, and that perfect symmetry is therefore not a reasonable expectation.  

The operation takes approximately 1 and 1/2 hours to complete. The procedure consists of an incision on the back side of the ear, with the removal of a small segment of skin. The cartilage is exposed, and it is thinned or cut so that the ear will be placed in a normal position and have a normal configuration. Stitches are used to hold the cartilage in place and to close the skin incision.
Many patients are very pleased with the placement of the hidden incision and the results of the surgery.
Please make sure you are working with a well experienced board-certified plastic surgeon. You will be best served to seek treatment by a board-certified plastic surgeon who can demonstrate a significant level of experience  with the procedure you are planing. I would suggest starting with the American Society of Plastic Surgery  to obtain a list of well experienced board-certified plastic surgeons. Arrange consultations andask to see his/her before-and-after pictures and to potentially meet with patients who have had similar surgery.
You should also ask about potential risks and complications associated with the procedure and how the surgeon deals with these potential problems. Remember, that all surgeons experience complications (despite best efforts).
I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

Protruding ears can be corrected and look natural.

Prominent ears are most commonly caused by a combination of two factors: 1) under development of what we call the “antihelical fold” and 2) overdevelopment of the “conchal bowel.”  The key to achieving a “natural” appearance is correctly and precisely analyzing your ears.   Your surgeon can then make an appropriate surgical plan using many available techniques.
Generally speaking, it has been my experience that very prominent ears often have both conchal bowel excess and a weak antihelical fold.   In this case, the ideal outcome comes from reestablishing the antihelix and weakening/reducing the conchal bowel.  I often combine both techniques.  Avoiding a surgical appearance, “telephone ear, or anti-telephone ear” takes judgment and artistry.  Any portion of the ear (upper third, middle third, or lobule) placed too close or far to the scalp will be unnatural appearing.  My goal for otoplasty, is to have the ears essentially disappear as a focus of point.  Peoples eyes are not drawn to “natural” appearing ears. The “elf like” appearance may require less commonly used techniques and would be difficult for me to comment on without an exam.  I hope this answers some of your questions.

Adam Terella, MD
Aurora Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 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.