Can I Get Rid Of My Dog Ears On My Facial Scar Without Making It Any Longer?

Q : I had a birthmark removed, and I went back to the plastic surgeon for him to cut out the remaining area he missed. He ended up cutting out more than he should have and left me a huge scar on my face, with dog ears at the ends. The scar is already twice the size it was, and I don’t want to cut the scar any bigger. Isn’t there any other way to get rid of dos ears on your face?

A: Dog ears, or redundant skin edges, are a common problem with elliptical or fusiform excisions. They appear as mounds of tissue at the end of the scar or may actually have visible overlapping skin edges. Their removal is fairly simple by performing a smaller elliptical excision around the dog ear or opening the incision and raising and trimming one of the skin edges.

Such dog ear treatments will always make the scar line longer to some degree. In a tummy tuck, for example, extending the scar line is not a big issue given the location and already long scar line which exists. On the face, however, every extra millimeter of scar is burdensome and keeping the scar line as small as possible is paramount.

Facial dog ear scar revisions can be kept limited by defatting of the bunched scar ends and a minimal extension of the scar line of just a few millimeters for excision of redundant skin. Careful technique can make this minimal scar extension of little consequence for the elimination of the dog ears.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana