What is the Maximum Reduction an Otoplasty Can Do? Can It Reduce the Thickness of the Ears?

Doctor Answers 8

Otoplasty or Ear Pinning

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Otoplasty is a procedure to pin back the ears when they are too prominent. It involves cartilage scoring or removal, suture-reshaping, and skin excision. The goal is to create symmetric, natural looking ears that are no longer prominent and do not draw attention. "Thickness" is not generally addressed with this operation.

San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon

Amount of change possible with otoplasty

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The otoplasty procedure involves tucking the ears backwards into the head, usually so that the rim of the auricle is approximately 1.5 to 1.8 cm from the back of the post-auricular scalp.  Obviously they have to be overcorrected at first because they will stick slightly outwards as they heal.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Degree of correction with otoplasty

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This is an interesting question. 

Otoplasty is a vague term meaning re-shaping of the ears. There are many types of problems with ears people ask for help with. The common one is a prominent ear (commonly called a 'bat ear'), where the goal is to set back the ear to make it appear natural. It is possible to correct/improve quite severe deformities by a number of different techniques.

If you are referring to a thick and deformed ear as seen in some boxers (commonly called 'cauliflower ear'), it is possible to thin and sculpt, to some extent, the thickened cartilage.

If you are looking for a more specific answer, some photographs will be helpful.


Anindya Lahiri, FRCS (Plast)
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon

Otoplasty Can Give Significant Reduction in Ear Prominence

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Otoplasty refers to changing the shape of the ears.  Usually, patients ask me to make their ears less prominent or "stick out less".  We can do this by shaping the ears with permanent sutures, setting back the ears, and in some cases, removing excess cartilage.  We can make earlobes smaller, thinner, and less prominent.  In specialized cases, we can make the cartilagenous portion of the ear smaller as well.  

It is not uncommon for me to reduce ear prominence by over one centimeter.  Some good examples can be seen on my practice website.  I hope this helps!

Stephen Bresnick, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews


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 A photograph would have been of great assistance? There are two common conditions noted in prominent ears. The first is a lack of the Fossa Triangularis on the upper part of the ear. The second is a prominent Chonchal Bowl or cup of the ear. Recreation of the fold of the ear or Fossa pins the ear back and folds it into a more acceptable appearance. A patient can still have prominent ears because of a prominent Chonchal Bowl. This is normally reduced at the time of an otoplasty with removal of excessive skin behind the ear to produce a balanced appearance. For men they often like the ear to fold around the head so, the overall appearance of the head does not look so, wide because of their prominent ears. Best,


Gary R Culbertson, MD, FACS

Gary R. Culbertson, MD
Columbia Plastic Surgeon

Otoplasty reduction amount

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Otoplasty typically involves bringing an ear that  is perceived as overly far from the side of the head closer to the head. The upper portion of the ear is typically treated by increasing the amount of folding of the cartilage by using a suture technique. The middle third of the ear is typically  adressed by manipulating the conchal bowl (the  cup shaped part of the ear). The  goal of the procedure should be  a balanced appearance.

Scott Zevon, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon

Otoplasty Reducing Thickness

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     I would have to see the deformity to which you refer, but there are a tremendous number of options that can reduce the size of the ears. 

Otoplasty Reshapes The Ear Not Reduces Its Size

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It is unclear from your otoplasty question as to what you mean by 'maximum reduction' since this implies the size of the ear and not the shape of it. Similarly the question about thickness implies size concerns. You will need to post pictures and better define your questions to be more helpful.

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.