Why Do My Ears Stick Out So Much?

Dr. Sacha Obaid, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Serving Dallas, Plano, Southlake, and Nearby Fort Worth, Texas

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Dallas woman holds ears out to demonstrate why she wants ear surgery. Protruding ears are often the result of an inherited trait or condition that causes ears to stick out. This affects about 1-2 percent of the population and can cause discomfort and embarrassment to some. It can occur to just one ear or both, causing your face and ears to look disproportionate. Most people who struggle with ears that stick out too far develop them a few months after birth. The issue may stay the same or get worse as they get older.

Ears that stick out don’t cause everyone to be self-conscious, but many adults and children struggle with embarrassment regarding protruding ears. Kids, in particular, may be teased about their ears and adults may try to hide their ears using hairstyles or hats. There is, however, a surgical procedure that can address protruding ears known as an otoplasty by correcting asymmetry, reducing the size, and reshaping the ears.

What Causes Your Ears to Stick Out?

Uneven ears or ears that protrude far from the head occur for many reasons such as genetics, birth defects, and trauma, but there are three ways your anatomy causes your ears to stick out so far including:

  1. The Angle of Your Ear on the Side of Your Head: This is called an increased concho-scaphal angle. When it’s a small angle, the ears stay close to the head, but a wider angle causes ears to stick out further than average.
  2. The Shape and Size of the Top Ear “Bowl:” The upper, round part of your ear that takes the shape of a bowl is known as the conchal bowl. When this part of your ear is larger than average your ears appear bigger and protrude more.
  3. A Weak Outer Ear Edge: The anti-helical fold is found just inside the top of your ear near the outer edge. If this fold is weak, it can cause your ears to stick out.

What is an Otoplasty?

Otoplasty is a type of ear surgery that fixes uneven ears or protruding ears. Also known as ear “setback” or “pinning,” this procedure is often performed on kids between the ages of four and 14 because it’s easier to accomplish during that time—The cartilage is still forming and is easier to mold than in adults. Adults still qualify for ear surgery though.

The otoplasty procedure involves making an incision at the back of the ear where it meets your head. The ear itself conceals any residual scarring easily. The actual details of your otoplasty depend on which of the three anatomical abnormalities listed above is involved. Our board-certified plastic surgeon will trim and reshape the cartilage, and/or pin the ears back.

Ear surgery typically requires two hours and involves general anesthesia. Candidates should be in good overall health with no medical conditions that could cause problems with anesthesia or the recovery process. Most otoplasty patients report mild to moderate discomfort following the procedure.

You can go home the day of surgery and resume your normal activities within five days. Your hearing will be unaffected. The rare complications of otoplasty involve infection and blood clots, which is why it’s important to have a thorough medical history and list of medications when you come to your consultation at North Texas Plastic Surgery.

Schedule Your Otoplasty Consultation in Southlake or Plano

Our board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Obaid, trained at Harvard University. If you’re interested in ear surgery, please contact North Texas Plastic Surgery in Southlake or Plano today at (817) 416-8080 to schedule your consultation. We serve patients in surrounding areas of Fort Worth, Texas including Dallas.