Cosmetic Ear Surgery [Case Study]

Written by WD Staff, Skin Care Specialists on July 29, 2015 5 Comments

About Otoplasty

Ear reshaping surgery (otoplasty) has gained popularity over the last several years. In 2014, a total of 36,457 otoplasty procedures were performed in the United States alone. However, some confusion exists regarding this procedure, specifically what can be accomplished with otoplasty.

Otoplasty can address a variety of aesthetic issues related to the ears. Depending on the needs of the patient, several techniques are available to reshape the ears, to ‘pin back’ ears that stick out, and to improve symmetry.

Although the human ear continues to grow throughout life, it reaches near-adult size at a relatively young age. For this reason even children as young as seven years of age can be candidates for ear reshaping procedures, especially if they are at risk for being teased aggressively at school. For adults who are interested in improving the appearance of the ears, the following are important considerations:

The Issues

Most commonly, patients complain that some part of the ear is too prominent, or ‘sticks out.’ This could be due to insufficient folding of a part of the ear, too much cartilage in different part of the ear, an overly large earlobe, or a combination of these three findings. There are many suture techniques that can be used to impart a new and improved shape to the ear. Many surgeons will then consider removing conservative amounts of tissue if the clinical situation demands it. It is important to note that ear cartilage becomes firmer and more brittle with age – this means that the cartilage can be more difficult to shape reliably in older patients

Otoplasty Case Study – Ear Pinning

Otoplasty before and after image


  • Procedures Depicted: Otoplasty (right ear)
  • Patient Age: 26

The Aging Earlobe

Earlobes are structures that can become more noticeable as we grow older, because they tend to sag, elongate, and lose volume. If the concern is due to excess skin and sagging, a portion of the earlobe can be trimmed with a well-concealed incision. If the concern is due to loss of volume, this can be addressed by using fat transfer or hyaluronic acid fillers such as Juvederm or Restylane. These procedures can be performed in isolation under local anesthesia, or in combination with a larger procedure such as a facelift.

Insurance Coverage

The procedures described in this article are appearance-related and are usually considered ‘cosmetic’ by insurance companies. Generally, health insurance companies do not cover cosmetic procedures. Exceptions may exist but these are exceedingly rare in my experience. Be sure to consult with your insurance company and schedule an in-person consultation to learn more about otoplasty.


WD Staff

A united group of skin care specialists from Westlake Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, Austin's leader in Dermatology and Plastic Surgery. Articles posted under WD staff are authored through combined contributions from our entire team, including Plastic Surgeons, Dermatologists, Aestheticians, Physician Assistants, Aesthetic Nurses, and Patient Coordinators.

5 Responses to “Cosmetic Ear Surgery [Case Study]”

  1. Avatar Abe says:

    It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  2. Avatar Adrian says:

    Appreciate the recommendation. I’ll seek a free consultation!

  3. Avatar Michael says:

    I appreciate everything that you had to say about ear pinning. My wife has been complaining about her ears ever since we got married and I would like to do something for her for her birthday. Just as you explained, as we get older, our earlobes can get bigger and elongate. I will make sure that we take care of it so that she can feel more confident in her appearance and have one less thing to worry about. Thanks again!

  4. Avatar Asma says:

    Have a whole in a ear in citi scan report major problem of tissue infection doctor has told for urgent operation what will be the charges of operation

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Asma, Unfortunately we can’t really provide a good estimate on cost without an in-person assessment. Having you come for an in-person consultation will allow us to figure out which type of procedure you may require. If you are in the Austin area, please give us a call to setup a consult.

      Otherwise we highly encourage you to see a board certified plastic surgeon for an in-person assessment.

      Sorry we can’t be of more help.

      WD Staff

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