Q: Dr. Eppley, I have recently seen photos of myself at many different angles refereeing basketball games and in family pictures. It made me come to the realization that I really do have rather large ears. I attached 3 pictures of myself to this email to illustrate. I looked on your webpage, and I see that you talk about a procedure that you do to pin ears back that stick out. Mine don’t stick out, I would just like to make them a little smaller. I did some research and found the procedure that I desire, which I copied below. Is this something that you could do for me?
A: What you are referring to is known as vertical ear reduction, or truly making a large ear smaller. Unlike a setback otoplasty, which is done by an incision on the back of the ear and pins the ear back, an actual ear reduction removes a wedge of skin and cartilage from the center of the ear. This shortens the total ear height 10 to 15mms. This is an old well known ear reconstruction technique more commonly used for the removal of skin cancer simply applied for the cosmetic concern of a vertically long earl While very effective a scar along the line of excision. The key to getting a good scar is to not make it a straight line as it crosses from the concha (bowl) of the inner ear across the antihelical and helical folds. Much like a broken line scar closure technique for scar revision, the interrupted and irregular closure line scars better.
Thus, it is not a question of whether it can be done but whether this fine line scar across the middle of the ear is a good trade-off.
Dr. Barry Eppley