Extreme Otoplasty - How Close Can Ears Be Placed to my Head?

Hello, During an otoplasty, is there a limit to how close to the head the ears can be placed? That is, can the be moved back to the point that they are flat up against or even touching the head? Thanks, Jason

Doctor Answers 10

How Close to my Head can Prominent Ears be Placed?

The usual angle of the ear pinna to the head is about 20 degrees.  

The position can be closer if desired and some surgeon do this as depending on the otoplasty technique the ears may drift forward from the immediate post operative position.  

Also, the ears may appear closer to the head immediately after the otoplasty dressing is removed as the ears were held tight to the head by the compressive head dressing.

New York Plastic Surgeon

Ear position during otoplasty can be customized

The inward positioning of the ears during otoplasty is done by a variety of manuevers including different types of sutures and cartilage weakening or removal. How far the ears are moved inward can be varied anywhere from where they were to start with to being completely flat against the side of the head. Being 'plastered' up against the side of the head is unnatural. One wants to make the angle between the ear and the side of head at least 10 to 15 degrees. From a front view, the outer helix of the ear should be seen above that of the tragus protrusion. Be careful about requesting having your ears moved too close to the side of your head...there is no good way to 'unpin' the ears once moved in too far. 

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Extreme otoplasty: Be careful what you ask for! Results may be irreversible!

Extreme otoplasty: Be careful what you ask for! Results may be irreversible! Individuals request body modification rather routinely. Your ears can even be attached to the posterior scalp, however, it is not adviseable and would likely create some difficult hygiene problems. My advice is to discuss a REASONABLE and not and extreme result with your surgeon and then make a decision.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

As close as you want

Thank you for your question. Your ears may be placed as close as you want. The ideal position of the ear is about 15-20 degrees off the head. In our practice, most patients want to avoid a “pinned” look. That is why it is very important to schedule a consultation to discuss your ideal look and goals. This is very important to discuss with your surgeon.    

David C. Mabrie, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 105 reviews

Degree of change achieved with otoplasty

During otoplasty it is important not to over pin the ears, otherwise you will look like you came out of a wind tunnel. There is a slight amount of over correction that has to be done at the time of the surgery because the ears will have a natural spring to move outward after the procedure. The appropriate amount of distance of the postauricular skin to the edge of the ear while all the healing is completed is 1.5 cm.  

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 143 reviews

Prominent Ears

To answer your question directly your ears can be moved as close to the head as you desire.  However this may not give your ears the optimal appearance.  Using a mirror to demonstrate the possibilities your plastic surgeon and you can decide on the appropriate location.  How close to your head depends on your aesthetic values.  Your consultation with your plastic surgeon will help you to understand what is the best option for you.  Good luck.

Todd B. Koch, MD
Buffalo Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Otoplasty can bring the ears very close to the head

Yes, Otoplasty can bring the ears very close to the head, depending on what you and your surgeon decide together. Mustarde and Furnas techniques are the standard procedures used to achieve good Otoplasty results. The ears will look more natural however if they are ~ 1 cm off the side of the head.

Edward J. Gross, MD
Orlando Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Ear pinning

The causes of prominent ears are

1: Deep Concha

2: Under developed antihelix

3: combination of both

The surgery is to correct the problem for each individual depending on the cause.

Ears should be about 1.5 -2 cm from the scalp

Reversing your ottoplasty depends on what was done

see a Board certified PS for consultation and options

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

"Bad" Ear Pinning Surgery

The whole purpose of a well-done Ear Pinning Surgery (Otoplasty) is to swing the ear back to the normal angle from the head where it would look natural and not call attention to itself.

What you are asking for "moved back to the point that they are flat up against or even touching the head" can be done easily and unfortunately is not uncommon. It is termed Telephone Ear Deformity and is the hallmark of a POOR Otoplasty where the surgeon over-corrected and over-narrowed the distance between the ear and the head.

Are you REALLY sure you want to exchange one deformity with another?

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Otoplasty - pinning of the ears

Otoplasty for protruding ears is a procedure typically performed on children, but can also be done in adults with excellent aesthetic results.  The goal of this surgery is to provide a natural appearing result to make the ears less noticeable.  Ears that have a "pinned on" appearance or "stuck to the side of the head", do not always appear natural.  It should be noted, that your ears will initially looked stuck to the side of the head after surgery.  There is eventually a slight loss of correction to provide a more unoperated appearance.  Consult an experienced otoplasty surgeon for best results.

Etai Funk, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 63 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.