Background: The "pixie" ear deformity can be recognized by its "stuck on" or "pulled" appearance, which is caused by the extrinsic pull of the medial cheek and jawline skin flaps at the earlobe attachment point, the otobasion inferius. The tension results in migration of the otobasion inferius from a posterior cephalad position to an anterior caudal position. Although this deformity has been described clinically, it has yet to be objectively defined.
Methods: Recently, the two components of the earlobe, the attached cephalic segment (intertragal to otobasion inferius distance) and the free caudal segment (otobasion inferius to subaurale distance), were shown to be essential in evaluating for earlobe ptosis and pseudoptosis. These two components can be used to designate an objective criterion for the pixie ear deformity. The deformity, as defined by the authors' parameters, was assessed in 44 patients who had undergone rhytidectomy. A simple and accurate surgical treatment is demonstrated by a cadaver dissection and a clinical case.
Results: The deformity can be defined as an increase in the attached cephalic segment (intertragal to otobasion inferius distance) and a decrease in the free caudal segment (otobasion inferius to subaurale distance) to 0 mm following rhytidectomy. The incidence of pixie ear deformity was 5.7 percent in the authors' series of patients.
Conclusions: A medially based triangular excision over the attached cephalic segment is presented as a simple and accurate surgical treatment of pixie ear deformity. A more accurate and objective designation may allow for improved detection, avoidance, and treatment of this deformity.