When Should My Otoplasty Be Revised As One Ear Still Sticks Out Further Than The Other?

Q:  Dr. Eppley, I had my ears pinned back six weeks ago. Before surgery one ear did stick out further than the other and, even after surgery, it still does. Although both ears are much better looking they are still not as good as I had hoped. I would be happy if the left ear was brought back further to match the other one. When they get better with more time and, if not, when should I have the left ear revised?

A: The surgical techniques used in otoplasty rely on the use of sutures to reshape the cartilages. The final results are a mixture of skillful placement, tightening and their ability to hold as the tissues heal. Between swelling and tissue relaxation it will take up to six months after surgery to see the final result. Besides a good shape, it is also important to have symmetry between the two ears. Even though both ears are rarely seen at the same time, it is still important to have them look as close as possible. Perfect symmetry between the two ears in otoplasty does not always occur and about 10% of patients in my experience may desire some minor touchups to improve their shape and symmetry. In the case of one ear that still sticks out further than the other, this may require a revision to place another suture or two or to remove a little conchal cartilage to get the ear back into a better position. It is a better problem in otoplasty to have an undercorrection than an overcorrection. Undercorrected ears are infinitely easier to improve by an otoplasty revision. I would embark on that revision six months after your original procedure.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana