The most common reason people seek an otoplasty is because the ears stick out and they wish to have them moved closer to the head. Some patients who request an otoplasty (plastic surgery on the ears), however, are interested in having smaller ears. Other patients think they just want their ears pinned back and don’t realize that they really should have the size of the ears reduced at the same time. Ear shortening is an under-appreciated part of otoplasty procedures.

Many patients are aware of the more common types of otoplasty but are not aware that the length of the ears can be reduced at the top or at the bottom, or both, with invisible or nearly invisible scars.

otoplasty reduction

The most common reason people seek an otoplasty is because the ears stick out and they wish to have them moved closer to the head. Some patients who request an otoplasty (plastic surgery on the ears), however, are interested in having smaller ears. Other patients think they just want their ears pinned back and don’t realize that they really should have the size of the ears reduced at the same time. Ear shortening is an under-appreciated part of otoplasty procedures.

Many patients are aware of the more common types of otoplasty but are not aware that the length of the ears can be reduced at the top or at the bottom, or both, with invisible or nearly invisible scars.

Macrotia (Large ears)

Macrotia means large ears. The average length of an ear in a 10-year-old boy is 6 cm (2.4 inches). In adults, the ears are slightly larger than that. Obviously an ear on a large male face may look appropriate but that same ear on a smaller male or female face may look disproportionately large. When ears get to be over 7 cm (2.8 inches) in length they usually look large on anyone. Ears can be large at the top, the middle, the bottom, or some combination. Surgical correction can be performed at the top, the bottom, or both; the one area that surgery cannot correct is the middle 1/3 of the ear called the concha.

Scaphal reduction

In ears that are large at the top, a scaphal reduction can be performed. This procedure can make a dramatic difference in those patients whose ears have this shape. The ears can be reduced up to 5-7 mm (.5-.7 cm) in length with this maneuver.

Large Concha

In these patients, the central part of the ear is large. There is no way to reduce this part of the ear without unsightly scars.

Large Ear Lobes

Some patients have long earlobes, either from age or simply because that’s the way their ears developed. The earlobes, like the tops of the ears, are easy to reduce in length with invisible scars and can have a dramatic effect on the size of the ear. Some older patients with normal size ears develop longer earlobes with age and are extremely happy when their eras are reduced to a more youthful size.

Age for otoplasty with ear reduction

Otoplasty can be performed at any age from 4 years to old age. In children, the procedure is performed under general anesthesia. In teenagers and adults, the procedure is performed under local anesthesia.

Consult an expert

If you would like more details about otoplasty, with or without reduction of ear size, consult with a specialist. Dr. Charles Thorne is an expert in plastic surgery of the ears. Schedule an appointment with him now and he will take good care of you or your child.  

In The Media


Dr. Thorne is consistently highlighted in every publication profiling the Best Doctors in Manhattan or the Best Doctors in the entire United States. He has been featured in the New York Times multiple years running, as well as America's Top Doctors, and has hosted a radio show on plastic surgery alongside dermatologist Dr. Linda Franks.


  • New York Best Doctors 2019
  • New York Best Doctors 2017
  • New York Best Doctors 2014
  • New York Best Doctors 2008


  • New York Best Doctors 2005
  • Americas Top Doctors 2002
  • Castle Connolly 10th
  • Castle Connolly 6th

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