Cleft and Craniofacial Center
Hasbro Children's Hospital

Complex Ear Deformity

Ear Deformities that May Be Helped by Surgery


Underdeveloped outer ear

Learn more about microtia


Absence of one or both ears

Learn more about anotia


Upper ear underneath the scalp skin

Ear Tag (Accessory Tragus)

Bump of skin and sometimes cartilage in front edge of the ear

Earlobe Deformities

Earlobes with clefts or skin tags; duplicate earlobes

Hearing Loss

Some ear deformities may include one or both ears and involves hearing loss. 

Examples include:

  • Microtia: the outer ear is small and underdeveloped
  • Anotia: the outer ear and canal is so underdeveloped it may not be visible.
  • Cryptotia: the upper part of the ear appears “buried” beneath the side of the head

Types of Ear Deformity Surgery

Surgery to reconstruct the complex ear deformity is called otoplasty. There are two surgical approaches to ear reconstruction. One involves an implant or premade artificial ear placed beneath the skin. The other surgical approach involves using rib cartilage to create a custom ear shape and is placed beneath the skin. Unfortunately neither surgery corrects or improves the patient’s hearing.

Learn about conditions that may be helped without surgery