Can Just One Ear Be Done In An Otoplasty?

Q: I have one ear that sticks out further than the other. I think the good ear, the one that doesn’t stick out as far as the other, looks pretty good and may be normal. But my bad ear on the other side is definitely different. The bottom part where the earlobe is ok, it is the upper part of the ear that sticks out. My question is…can you just fix only one ear? And can you just fix a part of one ear only? Thanks and look forward to hearing back from you.

A: Otoplasty, or ear reshaping surgery, can be done on just one ear or just a part of one ear. In fact, in my Indianapolis plastic surgery practice, about half of the otoplasties I do are on just one ear or some part of it. Otoplasty, like rhinoplasty or nose reshaping, is not an all or none procedure. The ear is composed of a number of different cartilage convolutions and indentations which can be selectively shaped.

Cartilage shaping in otoplasty is done through either suture shaping or bending combined with weakening the cartilage at specific points through cartilage cuts or actual cartilage removal. It does take a bit of artistic sense and experience to know how to cut and suture the ear cartilages to get just the right shape.

While otoplasties on both ears is usually done under general anesthesia, single ear otoplasties can often be done under local anesthesia in the office in adults. This is particularly true if the only a simple stitch or two for cartilage bending needs to be done to get the right shape.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis Indiana