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The human ear varies dramatically in size from one person to the next. Prominent ears, no matter their size, will stick out or protrude from the head at an abnormal angle. This condition can result in significant discomfort and a lack of self-confidence. In normal ears, the external cartilage, or auricle, is no more than two centimeters from the head. This distance usually creates a 25-degree angle between the ear and the side of the head. Ears beyond these measurements can seem excessively prominent when viewed from the front or behind. Dr. Charles Thorne provides surgical treatment to correct prominent ears at his practice in New York City.

Otoplasty Results

revision otoplasty before
revision otoplasty after

Patient suffered from prominent ears with a protruding upper third of the ear. Otoplasty helped bring the auricle closer to the head and improved proportions.


There are three common causes of prominent ears. These features can be present alone, but more commonly occur in combination and include:

  • Underdeveloped antihelical fold: The upper third and middle of the ear can become significantly prominent because the antihelix does not fold properly, causing the scapha and helical rim to protrude.
  • Prominent concha: If the concha or depressed areas of the ear are very deep or have an excessive angle with the mastoid (the bone underneath the ear), the ears can protrude. These abnormalities can result in prominence of the middle of the ear.
  • Protruding earlobe: Large and protruding earlobes cause the lower third of the ear to become excessively prominent.

Excessively large ears can also appear overly prominent. Average male adult ears are 2.5 inches long and those in females are slightly smaller. Children's ears barely grow after age 10, so they will only be fractionally smaller than the adult size.

Additional Deformities

While many prominent ears are otherwise normal in shape, there may be additional deformities. Macrotia occurs when children have excessively large ears that may also be prominent. Constricted ears are abnormally small but can also appear excessively prominent because the helical rim is too small, causing the ear to curl forward. Stahl ear occurs when the ear has a third crus or fold, which can give the ear a pointed appearance in addition to protruding.

Dr. Thorne can help you achieve aesthetic, natural-looking ears that do not protrude.


Otoplasty is a surgical procedure that can correct prominent ears. This procedure consists of an incision along the crease of the ear. Other incisions may be needed to address further deformities or remove excess tissue in excessively large ears. The main goals of otoplasty are to create an aesthetic ear from two main points of views:

  • Front view: The rim of the ear should be visible, but not set too far back so that it is hidden by the antihelical fold of the ear.
  • Back view: The rim should be straight, not curved in a "C" shape or like a hockey stick, and the ear should be within 2 cm of the side of the head.

Dr. Thorne has decades of experience providing desired results through customized otoplasty procedures.

Contact Our Practice

Dr. Thorne can help you or your child achieve aesthetic, natural-looking ears that do not protrude. Call us at (212) 794-0044 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and learn more.

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