Will A Revision Otoplasty Make My Ears More Symmetric?

Q: Dr. Eppley,  I had an otoplasty for protruding ears one year ago. From the beginning my left ear has not been symmetrical to my right ear. The top part sticks out a little bit more and it bothers me. I want to have revisional surgery for it. I am assuming that a revision otoplasty is simpler with less recovery than the first one? Also, how likely is it that the ears will end up the same? It would seem like it is easier now that only one is being changed as opposed to two ears. Lastly, since the left ear will have had two surgeries will it end up being weaker than the right? If it gets hit is it more likely to spring back out again if it is weaker?

A: You are correct in assuming that only one ear is less invasive and easier than operating on both ears. Also a revision of an otoplasty in any one ear is less invasive than the original since usually only an additional plication suture or two has to be placed. Given that yours is just the top part of the ear, only the upper half of the incision has to be re-opened for suture placement. This also means that such a revision can usually be done under local anesthesia. Certainly a revision is going to get your ears closer in symmetry but I would not expect perfection. It is unlikely that your ears were perfectly the same before surgery so you should not expect perfect ears after surgery either. The revised ear will not end up being weaker since no cartilage is removed, it is just folded back further.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana