Children's Hospital Colorado

Ear Deformity Treatment

A bright blue background with the "balloon boy" off center to the right. The balloon boy is a blue character who appears to be soaring by holding red, orange and yellow balloons above his head.

Plastic surgeons at Children’s Hospital Colorado treat a variety of ear conditions with leading-edge surgical techniques. Some ear deformities are cosmetic and others can cause hearing and developmental concerns.

Why choose Children’s Colorado for the treatment of ear deformities?

Nationally recognized experts in plastic surgery

A woman with brown hair and wearing a blue fleece jacket smiles while examining a smiling girl's ear.

Our doctors are regionally and nationally recognized as experts in plastic surgery, particularly within the face, head and neck. They are presently conducting an international study of the genetics and clinical outcomes of ear reconstruction for kids affected by microtia in Guatemala.

Specially trained to treat kids

Treatment is directed by a group of plastic surgeons who are focused and specialty-trained to treat pediatric patients with facial abnormalities and concerns.

Access to experts in many specialties

At Children’s Colorado, our specialists work together to treat the whole child – not just the illness or injury. Our plastic surgery team works with other pediatric specialties including ear, nose and throat, audiology, genetics and speech pathology to assist with any other health concerns like hearing or speech.

Conditions we treat

  • Microtia
  • Anotia
  • Protruding ears
  • Cauliflower ears
  • Earlobe deformities
  • Ear injuries
  • Stahl’s ears

Treatments we offer

Otoplasty for protruding ears

Ears that appear “pushed too far forward” are referred to as prominent ears.

A close-up illustration of an ear pointed away from the head before otoplasty surgery.

The surgical correction, called otoplasty, is performed by making a small incision behind the ears and by using sutures (also known as stitches) to reshape ear cartilage.

A close-up illustration of a healthy ear after otoplasty surgery.

Surgical repair of ear(s) affected by microtia

An illustration of a healthy ear with labels for superior crus, triangular fossa, inferior crus, conchal bowl, tragus, antihelix, scaphoid fossa, and helix.

Microtia is a condition where the ear(s) does not fully develop. It is either too small or nearly absent, called lobular microtia or a constricted ear.

Two circles with a close-up illustration of an ear. In the left one, the ear is bent and it is labeled as lobular microtia. In the right one, labeled Constricted, the ear appears as expected but with a thicker section on the outer ear labeled as Helix.

Reconstruction usually begins when kids are around 7 years old and involves a number of stages. 

The first stage involves transferring the cartilage portion of a number of ribs to replace the missing ear cartilage. The additional stages of lobule transposition, ear elevation and reconstruction are usually completed within the following six to 12 months.

Ear reconstruction for traumatic injuries

Traumatic injuries can range from a split earlobe to the loss of large portions of the ear, such as from a dog bite or laceration. The type of repair depends on the extent of the tissue loss.