Can a Darwinian Tubercle Be Removed Without a Scar Even if You Have an Unfolded Helix?

Doctor Answers 4

Ear Plastic Surgery - Los Angeles

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. Following surgery, the ear displays a more smooth contour. Any surgical incision leaves a scar by definition, but the incision site is usually not noticeable. This procedure may be performed on an unfolded helix.

Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 131 reviews

Ear surgery to remove a Darwinian Tubercle

thank you for the question

there is no such thing as a scarless surgery but the vast majority the time in the hands of an experienced surgeon any incisions would be very difficult to see after they healed. Additionally, if you're taking a posterior approach than you should be in good shape.  It's relatively infrequent that incisions behind the year have unsightly scarring.  One last thing I would recommend is to do this under local anesthesia there's really no need for sedation.


I hope that helped


Chase Lay, MD

Chase Lay, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Can a Darwinian Tubercle Be Removed Without a Scar Even if You Have an Unfolded Helix?

One of the mantras in plastic surgery is that every incision leads to a scar. With that said, proper placement of the incision and meticulous execution of the procedure and wound closure leads to scars that are imperceptible. I agree with Dr. Winkler that this can be approached from behind the ear and add that the incision can also be placed just inside the rim of the ear. Thus, there are a couple of different options to approach removal of a Darwinian tubercle that creates a scar that should not be noticeable to anyone but you and your plastic surgeon. To determine which approach would be ideal would require detailed photos or a consultation. I hope this information is helpful.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Lone Tree Facial Plastic Surgeon

Stephen Weber, MD, FACS
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 129 reviews

Darwinian tubercle removal

The "Darwinian Tubercle" is a point of cartilage that some people have on the top edge of the ear.  It tends to run in families and was thought in the past to indicate a tendency toward criminal behavior (!).  Obviously, we now know that to be a myth.  The only real crime they cause is that they can be unsightly.

Removal is straightforward and is done with an incision on the back of the ear.  After the cartilage is removed, a little bit of skin is also excised to make sure it is smooth.  This leaves a tiny scar on the back of the ear that is generally very acceptable.

Andrew Winkler, MD
Lone Tree Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 9 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.