Can Ears Actually Be Made Smaller with Plastic Surgery?

I have larger ears that also stick out a little bit from my head. I'm a young woman who would love to feel comfortable with wearing my hair up whenever I'd like without feeling like everyone is staring at my ears. I've read that ear size can be reduced, but I've also talked to two doctors who perform Otoplasty and they have both told me that they cannot make my ears smaller. What is the honest answer? I mean I want to get the surgery very badly, but I want to get pretty close to what I want.

Doctor Answers 10

Can the ears be made smaller?

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It is technically possible to make the ears smaller, but not without some trade-offs of the potential for scarring and deformity. For this reason, it is not something that I usually recommend. 

Most patients are extremely satisfied and do quite well with a traditional otoplasty to set the ears back and often re-shape some of the cartilaginous folds of the ears. Obviously, each patient is unique, so a consultation with a surgeon specializing in facial aesthetics can be very helpful to let them examine you in detail and offer recommendations regarding treatment options.

All the best,

Frisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Ear Reduction

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It’s not unusual for patients to request treatment of “Big Ears.” The vast majority of these patients have normal sized prominent ears which require setback otoplasty.  Occasionally, we see patients who actually do have enlarged ears.  Although setback otoplasty will make these ears appear smaller this may not be enough and additional surgery may be indicated.

Under these circumstances ear reduction can be performed.  In most cases, this involves shortening the vertical dimension of the ear.  This procedure involves removing a full thickness wedge of ear which shortens the height of the ear.  The procedure is associated with noticeable scarring which tends to improve with time.  For this reason, the procedure is utilized only when severe elongation of the ear is present.

If you’re concerned about the size of your ears consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon is appropriate.  This surgeon should be able to formulate a plan that’s appropriate for you.

Smaller ears

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Yes the ears can be made smaller.  But it does involve making incisions on the ear itself which results in a potential for scarring.

Babak Larian, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon

Surgery to make ears smaller

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While it is possible to reduce the overall size of the ears, there will be extensive scarring, making it not worthwhile.  The typical otoplasty procedure involves just pinning the ears back by recreating an antihelical fold and setting back the conchal bowl to decrease the lateral projection.  The otoplasty procedure does not typically make the ears smaller.  

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

Ear size reduction with otoplasty

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Hard to determine without photos.  You are actually asking for two different things.  One is a more common "ear pinning" where the Otoplasty is done to have the ears angle back more towards the head.  The other is a reduction in the size of the ear.  This is more complicated and involves more scarring.  Best to go to a surgeon who has experience doing this operation.  Review his before/after photos.  Bring photos of your own to show the doctor, at the same time please have reasonable expectations for what can be done given what you are starting with.  Your surgeon will then determine what can be done and together you will make an appropriate decision.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Making Ears Smaller

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Yes, you can make ears smaller with surgery but there will be additional scars associated with that procedure.  Make sure your surgeon can show you examples and discuss the potential risks and complications of the procedure with you.

Ear size can be reduced

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Ears can be reduced in vertical and horizontal dimensions. There are limits based primarily on your ear anatomy. There is more scarring than in traditional otoplasty. During your consultation you will have to evaluate your deformity and potential improvement compared to the risk of visible scars. Good luck

Craig Harrison, MD, PA
Tyler Plastic Surgeon

Ear reduction with Otoplasty

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If your ears are large for your face they actually can be reduced in size with a surgical technique that can be combined with otoplasty to bring your ear closer to your head.

Sumit Bapna, MD
Columbus Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Ear Reduction

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Yes, your ears can be made smaller with surgery. When getting an ear reduction this tends to leave scarring. I would recommend looking at before and after photos and discussing your options with your surgeon.

Otoplasty surgery to make ears smaller...

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Otoplasty is an excellent and safe procedure if you are looking to correct your protruding ears.  When your ears are closer to the head, they will look smaller because they are not sticking out so much.  The actual size is not made smaller because the cartilage is very specialized and any cutting into the cartilage has a risk of deformity.  When the surgeon performs Otoplasty he will put permanent sutures in the cartilage to simply reshape the ear, leaving you with a more natural appearance.   Overall patients are very happy with the result.  I would make a consultation with an experienced board certified facial plastic or plastic surgeon to see if you are a candidate.



Andrew Miller, MD
Edison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 222 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.