How Can My Over Corrected Ears Be Fixed?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am a patient who would like to inquire about reversal otoplasty surgery for over-corrected ears. I have attached some photographs.

I had otoplasty 10 years ago, and I regret it. At the time I was young and insecure about my appearance, but have since come to the opinion that my original ears, although they stuck out a bit, were suited to my face. 

Unfortunately my ears seem to have been operated on badly – they are now harshly shaped and too close to my head, especially the left one. They are also different to each other, one is big and one is small, and the right ear has a sharp ridge of cartilage on the anti helix.

I am not looking for perfection, and know it is not possible after a failed surgery. However, I would like, if possible, to regain a more natural look – with the mid to upper part of my ears to come outwards a bit more – so that there is a more rounded appearance from face on. And for the ear shapes to match each other better.

I hope this is enough information and the photos are suitable, I’d really appreciate your thoughts on my situation. Also an estimate to the cost of this type of surgery would be helpful. 

Many thanks for your time,

A: The reason your ears were over corrected is that you had the wrong otoplasty procedure. You had a well defined antihelical fold originally and the proper technique was a conchal setback rather than antihelical fold sutures. Now the outer helical rim is pulled behind the antihelical fold. For a reverse otoplasty the antihelical folds need to be released  and an interpositional cartilage graft placed. You are correct in that they still won’t be perfect but they will look better.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana