Otoplasty Ear Surgery - Can Ears Be Raised Vertically?

I'm wondering if ears can be raised vertically? Lets say the top of the ear reaches the lower eyelid level. Can both ears be raised so that the top of the ear meets eyebrow level? If this can be done how is it done? Would it leave a big scar?

Doctor Answers 8

Vertical repositioning of ears

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The top of an average ear is typically aligned with the tail of the eyebrow.  Vertical repositioning of the ears is not a commonly requested procedure nationwide, but it has been performed with high reliability and low revision rates in my practice and involves an incision hidden in the crease behind the ear.  The typical imitations of an upward vertical auricular repositioning is around 1.5 to.1.75 cm, which should be enough to match the top of your ears more closely to the tail of your eyebrow if you say that your starting point is at the the level of the lower eyelid.  Consideration must first be given to whether your overall ear size is dimunitive, which means you could benefit from an auricular enlargment or vertical height increasing procedure rather than a vertical repositioning.  An in-person consultation with comprehensive examination is necessary to determine what options and mechanics are best for you.   

Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Changing Position of Ears Possible?

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Thank you for the question.

Although possible to “lift” the ears to a minimal degree, I would not suggest this operation given the potential risk/complications associated with this type of maneuver. The potential for asymmetry, recurrence of the current position of the years, distortion of the external auditory canal... would make the risks associated with this operation outweigh the potential benefits. Sometimes it is better to leave things alone than to risk causing other “problems”.

Best wishes.

Raising the ears with otoplasty

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To a limited degree this may be possible but it really depends on your anatomy and exam.  The approach, incision, technique, etc. would be comparable to traditional otoplasty.  Without a photo or exam I can't help much with this question, sorry.  However, atypical techniques are used at time to raise components of the ear and so on.  See this video.


Chase Lay MD

Chase Lay, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

In general, ears are not moved vertically during Otoplasty, ear-reshaping surgery.

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I read your concern:

The best candidates for Otoplasty Surgery are those with ears that stick out too far from their head. Surgery typically involves placing 3-6 permanent sutures on the back surface of the ears to accomplish this, and the scar in inconspicuous in the crease behind your ear. I am not aware of otoplasty techniques designed to lift the top of your ear to a higher position.

Hope this helps you.

Dr. Joseph

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 435 reviews

Can ears be moved vertically during otoplasty

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Some degree of vertical movement can be achieved by placing setback sutures in more vertical orientation. There is only so much movement possible, as the ear canal is a fixed structure within the bone.

Alexander Ovchinsky, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Vertical Ear Elevation

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Ears can be vertically raised but not to the degree that you have described. They can likely be moved about half that distance. This is done by an incision on the back of the ear in the crease.

Repositioning Ears in A Vertical Plane

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Repositioning ears can be performed in otoplasty.  However, it is much more difficult to reliably change this dimension in ears over a long period of time.  Often times, repositioning ears into a more vertical location involves changing the angle of orientation of the ear with the head, which can also contribute to the appearance of low set ears.  

Anil R. Shah, MD
Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 181 reviews

Otoplasty Ear Surgery - Can Ears Be Raised Vertically?

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Your question is very insightful in that the esthetically ideal position of the top of the ear is level with the outer part of the eyebrow. However, vertical elevation of the ears is far more complicated and unreliable than reshaping or setting back the ears. The ability to "lift" the ears is limited and over time any vertical movement tends to diminish during healing.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

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.