Dr Nicholas Lotz
Specialist Plastic Surgeon
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Level 1 357 Military Rd
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Ph: 1300 304 209
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Minor Ear Deformities

The following information sheet is intended as a resource providing an overview of minor ear deformities including cryptotia, lop ear and/or a small ear-lobe, and their treatment.


Minor Ear Deformities

Not all congenital ear deformities require rib grafting. In some cases where there is only a minor deformity some cartilage may be taken from the other ear to replace what is abnormal or missing. This does not cause any deformity of the good ear. Often these minor procedures can be performed as one operation and as a day stay procedure.

Some of these minor ear deformities are explained below.


Cryptotia literally means “hidden ear”. In this condition the upper part of the ear is buried beneath the skin of the scalp, and the ear cartilage itself is usually normal. Reconstruction involves lifting the ear out from under the skin, creating a groove behind the upper ear and using either skin grafts or flaps of the surrounding skin to cover the ear cartilage. This is usually done as a day procedure in a single stage.

View Case Example: Before & After Ear Surgery for Cryptotia

Lop ear

A lop ear is one in which the upper part of the ear is bent over. There is often a relative shortage of skin and the cartilage framework may also be smaller than the other side. 

Surgery involves correction of the cartilage using either the cartilage already in the ear, or sometimes a cartilage graft from the other ear. Skin cover involves using local skin flaps. When severe, this condition occasionally requires correction with the use of a rib graft, similar to the procedure for microtia.

Small ear lobe

Recreating a new ear lobe will require cartilage to be used from elsewhere in the ear where it will not be noticed. This is used to stretch up the skin on the near to make a new ear lobe, or sometimes needs skin from behind the ear which may then need a second operation to free up the new lobe.