What is This Deformity on my Ear? (photo)

I have had this deformity on my ear since birth. It's a pointy piece of cartilage protruding from my left ear on the rim. What is it exactly and can it be treated easily? How long would it take to treat it?

Doctor Answers 8

You Have A Darwinian Tubercle

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Congratulations.  This is the first time I have seen the Real Self team of experts absolutely agree on any subject.  All the experts agree you have a Darwinian tubercle on your left ear.  This deformity as you call it is not all that uncommon.  The pointy piece sticking out from your ear is just an accessory piece of cartilage.  It can be removed using just local anesthesia.  The surgery would take about 20 minutes and the stitches would be out in 5 days. 


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

You have what is called a Darwin's tubercle.  They are quite common but yours is larger than most.  Removing it is a  simple procedure if you wish to have it done.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

What is This Deformity on my Ear?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Your left ear appears to have a Darwinian tubercle. This is a very common feature of the ear but there is alot of variety in the shape of the tubercle.The cartilage can be shaved down and reshaped with an in-office procedure. I hope this information is helpful.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Tubercle of ear can be treated in a short surgery

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Dear xtra00

Thank you for the pictures.  The procedure that can be used to improve the shape of the ear is a specific kind of Otoplasty.  The contour of the ear can be made more round and the triangular "tubercle" shaped from behind the ear.  There are potential risks that you should thoroughly discuss before any procedure.  

Best Wishes. 

Travis T. Tollefson, MD, MPH
Sacramento Facial Plastic Surgeon

Excess ear cartilage and treatment.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Excess ear cartilage and treatment is relatively simple to remove the excess cartilage and skin and reform the ear cartilage so you do not have a bump. This is done with local anesthesia and is not painful.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Darwin's tubercle

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

From the pictures, it looks like you have a variant of Darwin's tubercle. These tend to run in families and can be quite prominent to fairly tiny. It's simply a variation of the cartilage shape of the ear. Typically, this is something I would treat under local anesthesia (numbing medication) in the office treatment room. Treatment is simple, but careful, dissection and excision of the cartilage and redraping of the skin.


All the best,



Pearson Facial Plastic Surgery™

David C. Pearson, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon

Darwin's tubercle

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The excess cartilage is called a Darwin's tubercle.  Yours is more pronounced than most.  This can be corrected under local anesthesia in the office.  Unfortunately, it isn't covered by insurance.  The procedure itself takes less than an hour and sutures would be removed the following week.  Hope this is of benefit to you.  See a board certified plastic surgeon in your area.

Darwin's tubercle

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

This is called a Darwin’s tubercle and is a small pointed piece of cartilage on the auricular rim.  This can be simply removed as a minor surgery with local anesthesia.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 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.