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Congenital Deformities of the Ear (Prominent Ear, Lop Ear, and Cup Ear Deformity)

Deformities of the ear range from minor conditions of the prominent ear to more noticeable deformities of misshapen superior or upper ear segments. The condition known as Stahl’s Ear (Spock Ear) is considered a more challenging deformity.

All of these conditions require a thorough examination of the ear with detailed attention to very specific areas of anatomy of the upper and lower parts of the ear. The cartilaginous ear represents the fusion of embryonal fusion planes of two branchial arches forming and fused in the first trimester. Although uncommon, hearing abnormalities should be ruled out first to ensure that a more significant functional deficit of hearing is not also present.

Almost all corrective surgery is approached to reestablish symmetrical, balanced, and natural landmarks while setting the angle of the ear in a pleasing configuration with the back of the head that is natural and not “pinned back.”

Wearing glasses or headphones is not affected by the surgery and all incisions are placed in nonconspicuous areas behind the ear.

These types of surgeries are best performed in the early elementary school period, ages 5 through 10. This timing is preferred so as to minimize peer ridicule while also having the benefit of working with a more pliable cartilage that is soft and in need of less surgical manipulation.

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