Otoplasty (Greek οὖς, oûs, “ear” + πλάσσειν plassein, “to shape”) denotes the surgical and non-surgical procedures for correcting the deformities and defects of the pinna (external ear); and for reconstructing a defective, or deformed, or absent external ear, consequent to congenital conditions (e.g. microtia, anotia, etc.) and trauma (blunt, penetrating, blast).[1] Surgery corrects the defect or deformity by creating an external ear that is of natural proportions, contour, and appearance, usually achieved by the reshaping, or moving, and the augmenting of the cartilaginous support framework of the pinna. Moreover, because the occurrence of congenital ear deformities occasionally overlaps with other medical conditions (e.g. Treacher Collins Syndrome, Hemifacial microsomia, etc.), corrective otoplasty procedures also are performed by a Facial Plastic surgeon, many times by an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist), or by a plastic surgeon.

Protruding earlobe

This defect of the earlobe causes the prominence of the lower third of the pinna. Although most prominent ears are anatomically normal, morphologic defects, defromities, and abnormalities do occur, such as the:

  • Constricted ear which features an abnormally small pinna, and protrudes from the head because of the inadequate development of the circumference of the helical rim, which, in turn, causes the pinna to collapse forwards, and form a cup ear.
  • Cryptotic ear which is hidden in the side of the head. The condition of a hidden ear is produced when the developed helix of the pinna is contained under the skin of the scalp in the temporal region. (see Cryptotia)
  • Macrotic ear, a prominent external ear that features an oversized pinna, but is otherwise morphologically normal. (see Macrotia)
  • Question mark ear describes the ear that features a deformity of the supralobular region (upper area of the pinna), and has the appearance of a question mark (?).[16]
  • Stahl’s ear deformity describes the presence of a third crus (shank) in the pinna, which produces a pointed elfin ear. The third crus is additional to the two crura (shanks) of the normal triangular fossa (depression), which traverses the scapha (elongated depression separating the helix and the antihelix).

All of the above appearances can be changed surgically.