Procedure Options

Otoplasty (Ear Surgery for Prominent Ears)

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When ears are prominent or stick out from the head, they can be distracting and draw attention away from the face. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. David Mabrie specializes in otoplasty (ear surgery) in San Franciso to bring the ears closer to the head.

Featured Cases

Case 273

Background: This young woman in her 20's works in the East Bay as a health care provider. She is a mother and wife and her husband was very involved and supporitve with her consultation visits and post-operative care.  She contacted Mabrie Facial Cosmetics through our website Consultation Request Form regarding her ears. She consultation with Dr. Mabrie at his San Francisco office about Otopl...

Case 272

Background: This Bay Area artist in his 30's contacted Mabrie Facial Cosmetic via our Online Consultation Request regarding the prominence of his ears.  He consulted with Dr. Mabrie at his San Francisco office about Otoplasty.  He was interetested in decreaseing the size and prominence of his ears. Dr. Mabrie's Assessment: The ideal orientation for ears is between 15 and 20 degrees from...

Case 214

Background: This man had considered otoplasty surgery for several years.  He had a long history of one ear being asymmetricly prominent.  It had been a long distraction and he felt somewhat self-conscious about it.  So after thorough research of plastic surgeons in the San Francisco/ Bay Area and consulting with a few doctors he chose Dr. Mabrie to help with his ears.  He recal...

Case 165

Background:  Young woman from San Francisco with a prominent ear. She wanted to bring the ear closer to her head, although, not pinned to her head. She and Dr Mabrie spoke in detail about her goals and used computer imaging to illustrate how she wanted her ear to appear after surgery. Dr. Mabrie’s Assessment: The most common cause of prominent ears is a po...

Case 122

Background: This 34 year old San Francisco Project Manager consulted with Dr Mabrie to resolve the asymmetry in his ears. His ears were both in disproportion with one another, as well as more prominent than he liked.   Dr Mabrie’s Assessment: “He has well formed antihelical folds in the middle of the ears, but the ears begin to push outwards as you near the top....

Case 81

Background: This five year old boy had come in with both his parents. For a while now his mother had noticed that he would stand in the mirror and fold his ears back. The young boy had specified that he had wanted to look like his older brother. His mother's concern was that she didn’t want the ears to be overdone but wanted her child to be confident in sch...

Case 80

Background:  This young woman works in the medical field and is a busy mother of four! (One set of twins.)  Her ears had always bothered her and since she was young, she felt they were too big.  While her husband thought she looked perfect as she was, he supported her decision to take some time from her busy schedule and address her ears.  She consulted with San Francisco facia...

See All Before & After Photos
See All Before & After Photos

What Causes Prominent Ears?


In the normal ear, the anti-helical fold, demonstrated by the arrow, bends the ear closer to the head.

A common cause of prominent ears is an underdeveloped anti-helical fold. The anti-helical fold normally bends the ear closer to the head. If this fold is underdeveloped, the ear will be oriented straight out from the head and appear more prominent.

Dr. Mabrie can create or augment the fold with permanent sutures placed under the skin during an otoplasty procedure.

Another cause of prominent ears is the overdevelopment of the ear cartilage close to the head. To repair this problem, Dr. Mabrie removes excess cartilage during the otoplasty.

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Prominent Ears With Excess Cartilage

Some individuals have well-developed anti-helical folds but have excess cartilage pushing the ears forward. In these cases, Dr. Mabrie removes the excess cartilage and uses sutures to bring the ears closer to the head.

How Is Ear Surgery Performed?

In San Francisco, otoplasty is performed by Dr. Mabrie as an in-office procedure with local anesthetic. The incision is placed behind the ear along the natural fold of the skin.

How Much Pain Is Involved?

Otoplasty usually causes only mild to moderate discomfort. Ears may be slightly tender for a few months.

What is Otoplasty Surgery?

July 2012

How do I Prepare for Surgery?

If you're having otoplasty, you'll probably want to arrange for a couple of days off from work, because you'll be wearing bandages. You will need to avoid blood-thinning medicines, such as aspirin and ibuprofen.

Ear Surgery Recovery

Bandages restaurant ready* Suture Removal 75% 100%
2-3 days 2-3 days 5-7 days 3-4 weeks 2-3 months

*restaurant ready means you are ready to debut the new you!

What Is the Recovery Like?

You can expect some discoloration and swelling after otoplasty. For 2 days following the procedure, you will wear a turban-like dressing to protect your ears. After removal of the dressing, you will wear an exercise headband over your ears when you sleep for the next month. Adults often resume normal activities the day after surgery. You can wash your hair 2 days after the procedure, but you'll need to avoid strenuous exercise for 3 weeks.

San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon David C. Mabrie M.D., F.A.C.S.

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The Surgeon

Dr. David Mabrie offers:

  • Double board certification
  • Excellent training & experience
  • Specialization in the face and neck
  • A trainer's skill in injectable filler techniques
Why Dr. Mabrie
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Dr. Mabrie works with men and women from throughout the Bay Area, including Oakland, Walnut Creek and Pinole. Request a consultation online or call us at (415) 445-9513.

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Mabrie Facial Cosmetic: David C. Mabrie, MD
166 Geary Street
13th Floor

San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone: (415) 445-9513
Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–6 p.m.
Mabrie Facial Cosmetic: David C. Mabrie, MD
1700 San Pablo Avenue Suite F
Pinole, CA 94564
(510) 724-3200
Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m.–6 p.m.