My Left Ear Ear is Protruding out Like Dumbo After a Ear Surgery. Is That Permanent or Just Swelling? (photo)

ok so 3 days ago i got a surgery to remove a clestiotoma in my left inner ear and they made the incision behind the left ear(Shown in picture 1) now my left ear is protruding/sticking out like dumbo's ears is that permanent? I just took the bandage off yesterday and i about flipped out. (Picture 2 is where the surgery takes place in the inner ear)

Doctor Answers 5

Post Operative Ear Swelling

Because so much tissue was disrupted including periostium and bone behind your ear, this tissue pushes the entire back of your ear forward causing your ear to stick out prominently.  There is always the possibility of a blood clot behind your ear, but that would be easy to spot because of blood oozing out from the suture line and a bulge under the skin.  More than likely, this is just swelling and should go down with time.  A short burst of corticosteroid might be appropriate to decrease the swelling, but only if your surgeon believes in this type of medical intervention. 

Typical After Ear Swelling

At two to three days after surgery, this is the period of maximal swelling. This should all dissipate in a few weeks when the swelling goes down and the ear returns to its normal position.

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

Protruding Ear After Cholesteatoma Surgery- Don't Worry

The protrusion is almost certainly related to swelling from the surgery that will resolve slowly over the next few weeks. If there is still some remaining protrusion 1 month after the surgery, bring it to your surgeon's attention. At this point I wouldn't worry, it will almost certainly go away. Good luck.

Michael R. Menachof, MD
Greenwood Village Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

My Left Ear Ear is Protruding out Like Dumbo After a Ear Surgery. Is That Permanent or Just Swelling?

Your ear protrusion is likely related to swelling in the area behind your ear. Without knowing you or seeing photos it is impossible to say with complete certainty. However, during cholesteatoma surgery, nothing is done to change the shape of the ear and the incision behind the ear tends to heal well. If you have significant pain, bruising or swelling you should have your surgeon evaluate your ear to ensure you do not have a collection of fluid that is pushing the ear out further than usual. I hope this information is helpful.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Stephen Weber, MD, FACS
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 129 reviews


After three days from Otoplasty Surgery, there is often swelling, edema and usually some asymmetry.  Please keep your surgical follow-ups as you heal.

Robert Shumway, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 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.