Do I Need Surgery for my Ear?

As I child and well up to my high school years, my mother had a habit of pulling my ears because she thought bigger ears would be more attractive. Personally, I've never minded because I didn't think it would work. However, I am noticing now I have elephant ears. I don't know if this was because of my mom or if I was born with this, but if it is not genetics, will my ears return to its normal size? If not what type of surgery should I expect and what should I expect to go through?

Doctor Answers 6

Ear Pulling Causing Shape Change to Ear

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Ear pulling is unlikely to cause a shape change.  The cartilage of the ear is soft at birth and remains so for the first few months.  Most parents do not pull ears until later.


Ear trauma, if severe (less likely from ear pulling) can cause cauliflower deformity, which sounds different from what you may have.


If there are concerns about your appearance, seek an opinion from an experienced otoplasty surgeon.

Chicago Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 180 reviews


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I doubt that your parents pulling on your ears made any difference at all.  If you desire a cosmetic change in the appearance of your ears because they protrude too much, it is a pretty standard plastic surgery procedure.  If you do nothing, I doubt your ears will change on their own.   Good luck!

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Ear Surgery?

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Don't blame your mom, but an appropriate Otoplasty surgery may be helpful for your current condition.  Seek an experienced Facial Cosmetic Surgeon with your mother.

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

Ear surgery/ otoplasty

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Having someone pull on your ears is unlikely to change the shape or size of your ears. An otoplasty can be performed of your ears stick out more than you like.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Prominent ears

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It is difficult to answer your question without photos to see exactly what you mean by "elephant ears". When the ears project out from the head we call this prominent ears. There are two causes of this: one is loss of the fold in the outer ear which makes the ear more visible from the frontal view, the second is when the conchal bowl, the area surrounding the entry to the ear canal is large. One or both conditions may be present and can be surgically corrected with a procedure called an otoplasty. Common term is ear pinning.

Seek out a board certified plastic surgeon to help educate you further. Good luck and I hope this was helpful

Robert W. Kessler, MD, FACS
Corona Del Mar Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 130 reviews

Large ears treatment.

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Pulling the ears will not make ears different. If they stick out from the head they can be brought in but the overall size is not reduced.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 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.