Is is Possible to Have Ear Surgery on Just One Ear?

If one ear sticks out farther than the other one, can you get just one ear corrected?

Doctor Answers 41

Otoplasty: Ear Pinning Surgery; Measurements and Technique

Otoplasty is a procedure whereby the ear is outwardly displaced. It can occur because of a number of different reasons including loss of the antihelical fold, a large conchal bowl, trauma, and a conchoscaphal angle greater than 90 degrees.

Experience is important in correction of ear deformities. On initial consultation, a surgeon will measure specific measurements of the ear. A patient may think they only have one ear that is protruded but by measurement may have both ears protruding. These measurements are based on aesthetic anatomic criteria and should be adhered to so as not to undercorrect or overcorrect.

The four different surgeries in otoplasty should be performed by a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. These are the most effective treatments:

  • Scaphoconchal sutures
  • Conchomastoid sutures
  • Conchal excision
  • Excision of posterior skin

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Unilateral otoplasty

Otoplasty can be performed on one ear.

Find a board certified plastic surgeon who will be able to analyze the structure of your ears and explain why they are different shapes (is the a lack of cartilage folding? Is there excess cartilage).

Once those determinations have been made it should be straightforward to provide surgical correction to the ear that causes you concern.

I hope this helps.

Steven Williams, MD

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

It is okay to operate on just one ear.


Good news... You do not have to have both of your ear operated on to achieve good symmetry. The best thing is for your to go see a qualified plastic surgeon for a consultation. If only one ear has a problem, then only that ear needs the operation. There is no need to operate on the good ear.

I hope this is helpful.

David Shafer, MD
New York City

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Otoplasty for One or Two Ears

An otoplasty or ear pinning surgery is a great surgery for patients who have ears that stick out too far. This problem can be a source of ridicule and low self-esteem in patients. Many young women with this problem refuse to wear their hair pulled back because of their prominent ears.

The cause for this problem is either genetic or because the fold of the ear did not happen and as a result the ear sticks out. This can happen to one or both ears.

The fix is a surgery called an otoplasty, where the fold is created and the ears are set back. This surgery is fairly simple, does require much downtime (2 to 3 days at the most) and young people can usually get back to sports within a week to 10 days.

The procedure can be done on one ear or both depending upon what is required.

I hope that helps.

Best regards.

Brian Windle, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Unilateral Procedure for Ear Asymmetry

In many cases correction of ear asymmetry can be accomplished with a unilateral procedure.  Unfortunately in some cases it may not be possible to obtain symmetry in this manner and performing surgery on both sides may be necessary.  Under these circumstances, fine adjustments in both ears may be necessary to accomplish symmetry and optimize the surgical result.

                  If you’re considering otoplasty, it’s important to discuss this issue with your plastic surgeon.  Under these circumstances, most surgeons will attempt a unilateral procedure, but will want the latitude to perform a bilateral otoplasty if necessary.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Otoplasty for asymmetry

 The otoplasty procedure can be performed on one ear to match the other one, or on both ears to make them both symmetrical.

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

Ear Surgery On One Ear

During my consultations with patients, I carefully examine the structure of the ears and discuss possibilities for correcting the problems. In some cases, even if only one ear needs “pinning back,” surgery may be recommended on both ears to achieve the most balanced and symmetrical appearance. It all depends on how your ears are positioned and at that point, we would be able to determine the best techniques for surgery.

Carlo P. Honrado, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

It is definitely possible to do ear surgery on one ear.

Correction of the degree of projection of the ear can be surgically altered with a high degree of accuracy and with predictable results.  The surgery is done under local anesthesia.  I often have patients look in the mirror during surgery to assess if they are happy with the position and symmetry of their ears.

Leila Kasrai, MD, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Unilateral otoplasty

If one ear is farther from the skull or is otherwise improperly formed or situated, unilateral otoplasty would be appropriate. You should see a board certified plastic surgeon in consultation to discuss your expectations and goals.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Otoplasty sutures

Fortunately your friend is not correct. Otoplasty may be performed on one year ear only. It is important to be examined by a well-qualified/experienced surgeon to help you determine the benefits of operating on one or both ears. You should also be aware that despite surgery, the ears will likely not be perfectly matched. Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 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.