Earlobe Reshaping after Otoplasty

Q: Dr. Eppley, One week ago I had an otoplasty done and my earlobes protrude quite a bit. My surgeon has declined a revision as he states it can”t be fixed due to there being no cartilage in the earlobe. I would like to hear from Doctor Eppley who has experience surgically setting back earlobes as part of otoplasty according to Real Self. what specific procedure do you use and what is your % success rate with earlobes to avoid telephone ear deformity? Also, how soon can the earlobe be revised after my otoplasty?

A: When doing an otoplasty it is important to consider the position of the earlobe when the cartilage manipulations are done. (cartilaginous otoplasty) If the earlobe now sticks out beyond the lateral projection of the repositioned helical rim then it needs to be setback as well at the same time. (earlobe reshaping otoplasty) This is done by a fishtail skin excision on the back of the earlobes. (soft tissue otoplasty) This then creates a complete otoplasty. It is well known that the earlobe does not contain cartilage but that has no impact one whether it can be repositioned.

As a secondary procedure an earlobe reshaping setback can be done and it really could be done at any time after the original otoplasty procedure.

FYI a telephone ear deformity is when the cartilage of the ear is pulled back too far. (the helical rim sits back further than the antihelical rim, it has nothing to do with the earlobe.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana