Cut Post Auricular Muscle

#1 I had my post auricular muscle cut when my doctor brrowed cartilage for my revision rhinoplasty. After the cutting of this muscle, my ear set back slightly more than previously. What was more disturbing was that when I smile my hairline pulls to towards the uneffected ear giving the appearance of an assymetrical hairline. I used to be able to pull and wiggle my ears back and Causing me to "smkile with my eyes which I can no longer do> can cutting this muscle affect the way my face looks?

Doctor Answers 3

Auricularis Muscle

The muscle behind your ear is considered a minor muscle of facial expression.  In some people it serves no purpose while others it is quite active with smiling and other expressions.  It is very likely that what you are noticing is directly due to the surgery because, yes, the muscle has to be cut in order to obtain an ear cartilage graft.  The effect you notice with expression may improve a little with time.  Muscles are very resilient and can do amazing things as they heal.  The position of the ear being a little more set back is not uncommon and relates to the cartilage that was taken.  Any time we perform surgery (especially rhinoplasty) changes are made and there can be trade-offs.  For example, patients may have incisions or scars where they did not before or they may have changes in sensation, ear position, etc.  As surgeons we do our best to try and describe all foreseeable changes that patients can expect.  I would say that the issue you have noticed is uncommon to occur and even more uncommonly noticed.  You have an eye for detail, so you notice it more.  The good news is that most people will not notice it.

As for what can be done, consider doing nothing and just giving it time (at least a year).  After that, you can  have the other ear altered to try and match the donor ear if the asymmetry still concerns you.  Most importantly, find comfort with your new nose and try not to concentrate too much on the issues with your ear.  I wish you all the best!

Phoenix Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Cut post auricular muscle

A cartilage graft from an ear for a revision rhinoplasty is a common technique. It usually has minimal effect on the appearance of the ears and it is probably something you notice more than anyone else will. More importantly, how did the nose turn out? If you got a nice result from the rhinoplasty, then a little asymmetry of the ears is well worth it.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Ear graft during Rhinoplasty made my face appear different.

 I have performed Rhinoplasty for over 20 years and have taken countless numbers of conchal cartilage ear grafts of which you describe.  The ear muscles are cut to expose the cartilage before its removal and I have never had one of my patients describe what you are saying about changes to their face or hairline.  I could understand the anatomy behind a decrease ability to wiggle that ear but frankly the rest does not make anatomical sense as the scalp muscles would still be intact. However, the best person to ask is your Rhinoplasty surgeon.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

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