Is Minor Octoplasty Possible?

I have one ear slightly more protruding that the other, however, i am displeased with both my ears. As such, i recently attended a consultation with my surgeon, during which i was advised that it would be unlikely that both my ears could be corrected due to the less protruding one being only 'marginally abnormal'. He agreed to do one but has stated that he is unsure about doing the other due to the risks of surgery possibly out-weighing the gains he could provide. Seek a second opinion?

Doctor Answers 6

Obtaining a second opinion for otoplasty is a wise choice.

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It is always a reasonable option to obtain a second opinion but you must be prepared for the fact that it is difficult to predict the outcome of any surgery with 100% accuracy.

Otoplasty assymetry

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If you start out with extreme assymetry before an otoplasty, it is likely that you will end up assymetric afterwards whether or not you have surgery on both ears.  If you are not satisfied with your surgeons diagnosis and recommendation for unilateral surgery, a second opinion is your best option at this point.

Kevin Ende, MD
Manhattan Facial Plastic Surgeon

Subtle corrections can be made to the ears with otoplasty

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Great correction of prominent ears can be done with a variety of techniques. The surgical approach may be varied to suit the correction needed. It is rare thay any of us are completely symmetric, so it is typical that the surgery on each ear would be slightly different than on the other. It is hard to know over the internet what procedure would work best for you or to second guess the surgeon you have already seen, but you should certainly consider a second opinion with the questions you have. Your concerns are reasonable, so see what another board certified plastic surgeon has to say.

Asymmetrical Ears: just do one?

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Anything is "possible".  You are wise to consider a second opinion for any perceived conflict with your initial surgeon, either with your expectations, or with the surgeon's offering.  If you do find a surgeon willing to do what you ask, be sure the offer is sincere, genuine, and not financially motivated.  If you get more opinions, you will be able to determine the "consensus" recommendation for your particular issue and then can make your best educated decision on what surgery and which surgeon should help you best.  One of the best ways to obtain a "consensus" without spending a lot of money on consultations is right here on, so you are already on the right track.


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It is typically advisable to perform otoplasty on both protruding ears despite there being an assymetry between them.  Overcorrection of the ears is typically performed (especially in adults) as it is expected to lose some of the correction due to sutures loosening or cartilage bending back to its old position.  If only one ear is operated on, than the other ear may appear to be protruding in the future.  Seek a surgeon who is experienced in otoplasty for a good evaluation. 

IS a Minor Otoplasty worth Doing

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All of us have asymmetric features. few of us have symmetry of our eyes, ears, breasts, buttocks or limbs. The question your plastic surgeon is posing to you is; is such a minor asymmetry worth correcting in view of the inherent set of surgical complications associated with the operation?

Surgeons make their living by saying "YES" to patients and operating on them. declining to operate on a patients is a money losing proposition. With this fact in mind and nothing else, ask yourself: WHY is this surgeon willing to lose money rather than go along with my request (reasonable or not) and fix my ear? I would venture to guess that he is an ethical gentleman who put your interest above his financial interests and is trying to protect you from yourself.

I practice Plastic Surgery the same way and respect this in my colleagues.

Should you see someone else? Yes, if you want to find someone who will operate on you. if you ask long enough you will find a willing surgeon. But - are your interests really being looked after??

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.