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Otoplasty for Prominent Ears

People with protruding ears frequently feel self-conscious about their appearance. Children are often teased mercilessly by other kids. This can adversely affect self-esteem, behavior, and social interactions. Dr. Steven Turkeltaub—our board-certified plastic surgeon—offers ear pinning surgery, also known as an Otoplasty, which is an effective treatment that can reposition and recontour large or protruding ears. Through an incision placed behind the ears, the cartilages are reconfigured and rotated, bringing the ears closer to the side of the head.

Otoplasty is commonly performed on children starting at around age five but can also be done at any point later in time as well. The results can be very dramatic and the psychological benefits quite positive, especially in children.

Please contact our plastic surgery practice to schedule a consultation for otoplasty surgery. You can learn more about this procedure by reading our otoplasty FAQs (frequently asked questions) section.

Earlobe Surgery

Though the earlobe comprises just a small portion of our total ear size, because it is in our direct view and is often adorned with jewelry, it does frequently present with issues that could benefit from aesthetic or reconstructive plastic surgery. Commonly associated problems or concerns that Dr. Turkeltaub sees and treats regarding the earlobe include:

  1. Aged and elongated earlobe
  2. Torn earlobe
  3. Earlobe deformities from gauges
  4. Keloids

Aged Earlobe

The earlobes often become larger, elongated and atrophic with age. This is another stigma of aging which bothers many women. Fortunately, the solution is fairly straightforward and involves the removal of excess tissue and recontouring of the remaining earlobe. This can either be performed in the office under local anesthesia or during a face lift procedure to obtain a more rejuvenated appearance.

Thinned out earlobes can also be made more plump and youthful with volume fillers such as Radiesse® or Juvederm®.

Torn Earlobe

An extremely common problem that Dr. Turkeltaub sees and treats are torn earlobes or elongated openings from ear piercings. Wearing heavy earrings over many years can cause the holes for the piercing to elongate significantly or even tear completely through the margin. Incidental trauma such as catching the earrings on clothing or having them pulled by a child can also cause a complete tear of the earlobe resulting in a cleft or slit.

*Individual Results May Vary


Repair of the torn earlobe or elongated hole is performed using local anesthesia in the office. It involves excision of the margins of the slit or enlarged opening and meticulous plastic surgery contouring and repair. Sutures are removed around a week later.

Gauged Earlobes

People gauge their earlobes for a variety of reasons, often as a consequence of the inter-related factors of growing up, need for a personal identity and the infamous teen years. At the time, it might have seemed like the right thing to do. However, given the present realities of life, circumstances and greater “maturity”, this most often is no longer the case. Their presence or the residual deformities that they create can make it extremely difficult to find a good, respectable job or enroll in a high quality school. Forget about attempting to enlist in the military – they won’t accept you unless you have your earlobes reconstructed back to a more normal appearance without the gauge holes.

In the following video, a very articulate patient of mine shares both the reasons that he had his earlobes gauged in the first place as well as the reasons he is now seeking their plastic surgery correction.


In order to accommodate gauges, the earlobe piercing holes are stretched out over time. The result is a substantial elongation and thinning of the earlobe with a large hole.

*Individual Results May Vary

The ultimate “deformity” that results is dependent on several factors including the degree of stretching performed. When the gauges are removed, the skin will contract to some extent over a period of several months but a persistent deformity and enlarged opening will remain.

*Individual Results May Vary

Closure of the hole and reconstruction of the earlobe requires precise planning and plastic surgery repair in order to obtain an acceptable outcome. This is performed in the office using local anesthesia and is associated with little discomfort afterward. Sutures are removed around a week later.

*Individual Results May Vary


Earlobes are a common area for keloids to develop, frequently as a result of piercings performed in black and Hispanic individuals. Treatment most frequently involves surgical excision of the keloid, repeated local steroid injections or a combination of both. Other alternatives are available but are rarely used for a variety of reasons. Recurrences of keloids are not infrequent.

*Individual Results May Vary

Learn More About Ear or Earlobe Procedures

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Turkeltaub regarding the treatment of prominent ears or the rejuvenation or reconstruction of earlobe deformities, please contact the Arizona Center for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery today.

Request an Appointment

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