Correction of the Bilateral Question Mark Ear Deformity Using Double-Opposing Z-Plasty and a Chondrocutaneous Flap

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To describe an alternative technique for correcting a rare and complex ear deformity.


The question mark ear deformity has been described as a congenital cleft between the helix and the lobule in addition to a prominent ear. Here we describe a novel technique using double-opposing Z-plasty and a chondrocutaneous flap to correct the deformity without significant reduction in auricle height or creation of a donor-site defect.


An anterior/posterior double-opposing Z-plasty and a superiorly based chondrocutaneous flap were designed at the level of the cleft. Flaps were raised full thickness, and Mustarde and Furnas sutures were placed to reduce the prominence. The flaps were then transposed and reapproximated. Of note, all anterior and posterior skin flaps were used in the repair to minimize diminution of ear height. Pre- and postoperative measurements and photographs of the ears were taken.


Postoperatively, all flaps were viable, and there was no evidence of skin necrosis. The total length of the left ear was reduced by only 3 mm (53 to 50 mm), and the right ear was reduced by 1 mm (52 to 51 mm). The patient's pain was successfully managed as an outpatient, and there were no infectious complications. The resultant scars healed aesthetically and are minimally visible. The patient and her parents are satisfied with the results.


Our technique addresses all components of the question mark ear deformity and does not create a visible donor-site deformity.

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