Otoplasty Asymmetry: Can I Get Minor Adjustment, Revision

3 months ago I had an Otoplasty... the swelling has gone and they’ve healed well. I’m happy with my left ear, but the right ear is about 4mm more projected than the left. Possibly it has been ‘under-corrected’, or has partially relapsed. I appreciate that exact symmetry is unrealistic, but feel that a 4mm difference is too much. Can minor adjustments can be made after the initial operation to correct residual asymmetries? Are these touch-up procedures quick and easy to perform? Risks?

Doctor Answers 14

Asymmetry After Otoplasty: What to do?

Dear Otoplasty patient from Auckland,
One the most common complications associated with Otoplasty is asymmetry. If your asymmetry has been present since your operation, this is under-correction. However, appearance of asymmetry one month after Otoplasty indicates a relapse. In any case correction can be made under local anesthesia with oral sedation. Good luck and good healing.

Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 204 reviews

You should wait a full year brfore considering Revision Otoplasty Surgery.

I read your concern. I don't think that a "minor adjustment" in the position of your ear is a minor undertaking. You would likely need to have the incision behind your ear re-opened, and have the skin behind your ear lifted, just like with your initial surgery, to place Moustarde sutures. Your ears may relax outward slightly over the next 9 months, so it would probably be best to sit tight till you see your final result.

Feel free to email your photos, and I'll be happy to share my thoughts with you.

Regards from NJ

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 418 reviews

Otoplasty: Techniques and pitfalls

The surgical term otoplasty represents a spectrum of surgical interventions that are focused on developing symmetric and refined ear shapes. The differences between you two ear shapes could represent a minor or more involved procedure depending on where the differences are located and the original surgical intervention. It is important to review this with your original surgeon, but take heart in knowing that it sounds very correctable.

Be healthy and be well,
James M. Ridgway, MD, FACS

James M. Ridgway, MD, FACS
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 92 reviews

Minor Revisions after Otoplasty

Dear Auckland, Otoplasty for some people refers to just

  1. tucking the ears closer to the head, but also can refer to
  2. redefining the shape of the upper and lower poles of the ears.  

I assume you are referring to the upper part (helix) of your ear that is 4 mm more projected than the other after surgery.  This area may be have a touch-up if necessary.  I would wait for the ears to fully heal (6-12 months).  Not all ears are alike, and a variety of techniques can be used to meet your expectations. Depending on the original position of your ears, this may be a fairly simple procedure.  Best Wishes in the new year.

Travis T. Tollefson, MD, MPH
Sacramento Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Minor Adjustments with Otoplasty

Certainly it is possible to make minor adjustments.  Depending on where and extent, it may even be possible to use an incision-less technique.  Check with your original surgeon.

Joseph Campanelli, MD
Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Otoplasty revision

Unfortunately, even in the most experienced hands, revision surgery is a part of plastic surgery.  Thankfully, it is relatively uncommon.  The most frequent complication associated with otoplasty is relapse.  You are probably already aware of this.  I agree that 4 mm of asymmetry is less than desirable.  Whatever the case, a "minor revision" should be possible under local anesthesia.  This may involve reopening the incision behind the ear and using either sutures, cartilage remodeling, or both to achieve greater symmetry. The best first step is to communicate this issue with your physician.  In my practice, minor revisions are free of charge when they can be achieved under local anesthesia and when I performed the primary procedure.  I hope this helps.  Good luck!

Jason Hess, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Otoplasty Revision,Greece-Dr Nodas Kapositas,M.D,PhD

Asymmetry after otoplasty can be happened.I found a useful way to avoid as much as possible similar problems after surgery counting the distance ear-head with a ruler during surgery for both ears.This is very helpful for the Dr to achieve symmetrical results.You will be able to correct the ear 6 months later with a minor procedure under local anesthesia.

Nodas Kapositas, MD, PhD
Greece Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Otoplasty minor adjustment for 4 mm difference

4 mm seems like it's small but could be significant. I have a patient that is concerned about 1-2mm. This should be fairly straightforward. You liked need more weakening of the ear cartilage or more tissue removal from behind and resetting it back.

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 84 reviews

Persistent asymmetry after otoplasty

Revising the persistently prominent ear may certainly be possible in your case. An examination would allow for a better assessment of what would need to be done to correct the problem.

Thomas A. Lamperti, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Otoplasty revision

The cartilage in the ear has "memory".  It wants to move back to its original shape. That is why most of us try to file down the front of the cartilage when we do this operation.  In any case, our office tends to wait a few months before considering re-do surgery.  This allows the swelling to go down.  The scar also needs to set up.  It is difficult to comment on your particular case without before and after photos.  Do tell your plastic surgeon your concerns.  It is important that he knows...

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 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.