Various postauricular incision sites can be used for prominent ear correction depending on technique and surgeon preference. No study has previously looked at the most aesthetic (least visible) location for the postauricular scar. We investigated the visibility of various scar locations on the posterior ear from a third person perspective through a “Visibility Arc”—a formal assessment of the range of degrees where a particular scar is visible. The objective was to determine the least visible incision—that is, the scar with the shortest visibility arc.
Normal ears were marked with 3 different color markers to simulate postoperative scar position, namely, (1) black in auriculocephalic sulcus, (2) blue in the sulcus of the antihelical fold/groove, and (3) green between black and blue. Starting laterally from the right ear toward the left ear, each head was photographed across 180 degrees posteriorly, at 10-degree intervals to determine which colored line (corresponding to a particular scar location) was visible over what “visibility arc.”
Forty individual ears were analyzed. Scars located in the sulcus of the antihelical fold had the shortest average visible arc, which was a 70-degree arc. The auriculocephalic sulcus had the largest visibility arc, and was most obvious of all of the scar locations—a 100-degree arc. The scar location in between these 2 locations had an 80-degree arc.
The least visible scar for pinnaplasty rests in the groove of the antihelix posteriorly, with scars slightly medial to this almost as discrete. The most visible scars when viewed from behind will be those in the “traditional” location of the auriculocephalic sulcus.