Is It Normal for Ear to Stick out After Grafting?

I read that after having a cartilage graft taken from the ear, it will be sticking away from your head, is this true? Is it due to swelling and does it return to its normal position? How long does it usually take to heal? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 5

Cartilage Grafting From The Ear Does Not Change How It Looks

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Cartilage grafting from the ear, in most cases, is taken from the inner concave bowl or concha. This is not an area of the ear that supports its shape so no change in the look of the ear should occur after harvest. However, if a special dressing during surgery called a bolster is not applied to the concha to prevent blood collection or swelling, it will appear ballooned and even deformed. This may or may not go away so revisional surgery may be necessary if this occurs. This is the only deformity of the ear that can occur after conchal cartilage harvest.

Ear cartilage grafts in Rhinoplasty

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The area from which ear cartilage is generally harvested in Rhinoplasty is called the concha bowl and represents the "bowl" like area that sits behind the entrance to the ear canal. In my experience, harvest of cartilage from this area will decrease (slightly) and not increase projection of the ear from the head. In fact, harvest of conchal cartilage is an established step in Otoplasty, a procedure designed to decrease projection of the ear from the head.

The healing process is generally 1-2 weeks for this procedure.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

There should be no deformity after ear grafting

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I agree with the previous posters, No there should NOT be an obvious deformity when removing cartilage ear grafts. But this can be addressed with your surgeon so you are completely satisfied prior to surgery. 

Ear cartilage grafts

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The short answer is "NO," the ear should NOT stick out after harvesting an ear cartilage graft. I suppose it's possible that there will be some very temporary protrusion from swelling post-op, but that has not been my experience. In fact, there should be little change at all to the shape and position of the ear after such a procedure.

All the best,


David C. Pearson, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon

Getting cartilage from ear concha should not result in prominence

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It would be helpful if you enclosed some photos to demonstrate your condition.

In the vast majority of cases, when getting cartilage from the ear, we get various size pieces of the CONCHA, the large cup-shaped piece at the center of the ear adjacent to the ear canal. That should NOT markedly increase a side swing of the ear resulting in more prominence. BUT, if it did, it can be corrected with a procedure under local anesthesia.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis 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.