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Consultation for Otoplasty for an adult

Our ears often sit relatively unnoticed on the sides of our heads, despite their complex shape and very important functions.

Some patients that visit Dr. Markey’s clinic, though, feel that their ears are too prominent.  Rather than sitting inconspicuously along the sides of their heads many patients describe their ears as protruding outwards.  These patients often describe their ears as being the first thing others notice. Depending on a patient’s age, this may have different effects.As kids, they can be teased in school because their notable ears.  As adults, they may feel like their facial appearance is off balance because one ear sticks out more than the other, or both protrude too much.

The anatomy of the ear is complicated.

When you look at a friend or family member’s ear, you’ll see a intricate shape with grooves and valleys.  To change this complex shape requires subspecialized training. There is normally more than one anatomic reason as to why the ear protrudes more in some people and less in others.

The most common reason involves the antihelix.

The antihelix is the fold in the middle of the ear that begins behind the deepest valleys of the ear and runs forwards and upwards to divide into two smaller folds.  In some patients, these smaller folds are less obvious than in others.  When this fold is missing or is less pronounced, the top and back of the ear may flip itself outward and forward rather than folding back toward the hairline.

The next most common reason involves the deep valleys in the ear just behind the ear canal.

These depressions are called the concha cavum and the concha cymba.  They’re designed to help funnel sound from the outside world towards your ear drum – all to help you hear better.  However, in some patients these valleys run much deeper than in other patients.  When the concha cavum and cymba are especially deep they tend to push the rest of the ear out from the side of the head. Like an antihelix that doesn’t fold the ear back, the ear may protrude outward and forward.  

The procedures to correct this are also described in Dr. Markey’s paper, cited here. Briefly, the two structures that allow the ear to stick out – the antihelix and the concha – need to be reset against the side of the head.  First, Dr. Markey carefully measures the precise distances to which the ear protrudes.  It is important to ensure that the ears are symmetric on both sides.  Then, a bit of tissue is removed from behind the ear to allow it to lie flat. Dr. Markey marks out the precise area where the crease in the ear should lie and then carefully folds the ear back along the crease with suture.  After this, he softens the bases of the concha so that they’ll rest against the side of the head.  This is then sutured down to make sure the ear is in the right position and both sides are perfectly symmetric. This procedure is called an otoplasty.

Recovering from an otoplasty is usually a smooth process

Dr. Markey and his staff will give you precise instructions to make sure the ear(s) heal appropriately. Usually a plastic covering is placed atop the ear to protect it. Ointment for the wound and medication to help control any surgical pain will be given. Post-operative instructions can be found on this site for more specific guidelines.

Please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Markey or his staff with any additional questions or concerns regarding otoplasty.

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I was referred to Dr. Markey through my internist. My appointment was right on time. Dr. Markey is very personable and makes you feel at ease. He listens to your concerns and, in fact, found that I had cartridge growing in my left nostril that was inhibiting me from breathing correctly. We set up a date for same day surgery. His office team then helped me with scheduling. I messaged Dr. Markey with concerns and he responds right away. I am very glad I found him and would suggest his services to anyone needing a really terrific otolaryngologist. Thank you, Dr. Markey and Irene for being so terrific.

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