Elf Ear Surgery - The Story behind this Cosmetic Ear Surgery Trend

Posted June 17, 2021
Elf ear shape surgery popularity

Patients that are not happy with the size or shape of their ears can undergo otoplasty to make the desired changes to the appearance of their ears. While otoplasty can gives the ears a less protruding look, there are patients who want their ears altered to give them a look that is closer to imaginary characters. The newest cosmetic surgery fad in China is having surgery to get elf ears from China cosmetic surgery specialists.

Desire for Elf Ears – Driving Force

The residents of China that count as “Gen Z” are the driving force behind this trend in cosmetic surgery. What was once seen as a birth defect is now the driving force behind one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures in China. These alterations to the ears give the face a slimmer look without the need to touch the face or use makeup to help gain the desired look.

While the growing popularity of elf ears might seem to be a joke to some people, the fans of this procedure in China are quite serious about their desire to have the procedure. The South China Post discussed the popularity of this cosmetic surgery procedure among people born after the year 2000.

According to the newspaper, the idea behind elf ears is to get a “thinner, slimmer face”. Patients are also aiming to meet specific beauty ideals as well as overcome older ideas about how people should look to others.

There have been plenty of reactions to the procedure from those who had it in the past. For example, on the Xiaohongshu social media platform, one person posted “It is magic! I haven’t changed anything on my face and yet all my friends said I look different the day I got it done. (My face looks smaller, and I looked smarter, etc.)”

Oher comments included “definitely worth it”, “so unbelievable” and “Oh I want it too”.

The procedure is popular with both men and women as they rush to have the surgery performed by medical professionals in China.

Elf Ears – How to Get Them

There are two popular methods that help patients gain the appearance of elf ears. One technique is performed by adding cartilage from another area of the body, or a piece of artificial material, to the section located behind the ear. The other method is performed by injecting hyaluronic acid in the targeted area of the ear.

Patients need to be aware of the fact that there are risks involved with the procedure including gaining an asymmetrical look to the ears, blood clots, an infection and skin necrosis.

Elf Ears in Demand

The final appearance of elf ears are ears that are prominent in appearance while also being pointed in shape and protruding.  

The South China Post spoke with multiple cosmetic surgery providers who described the demand for the procedure as people having to line up for the procedure. One surgeon discussed performing up to six elf ear surgeries per day. Yu Wenlin, a doctor specializing in otoplasty, said “I only realized that actually many young people, mostly post 2000s, were looking for ways to make ‘elf ears” after I helped one online celebrity do it at the beginning of last year. Then more and more people came to me after that.”

Yu also mentioned the look of an elf ear is somewhere between what is medically referred to as a Stahl ear and a protruding ear. A Stahl ear is a deformity of the ear that consists of an extra cartilage fold in the scapha portion of the ear (which gives the look of a pointed ear). A protruding ear is an ear that sticks out more than 2cm from the side of the head.

Motivation behind Elf Ears

As mentioned earlier, patients have the elf ear surgery in order to gain a face that is younger and slimmer in appearance. In addition, they enjoy the childlike appearance that is delivered by the surgery.

There are also some patients that have the surgery to change their ears because the ears are currently not visible if viewed from the front or they are not able to tuck their hair behind their ears (at the moment).

Elf Ears – Will the Trend Continue?

It remains to be seen if the desire for ears that look like they belong on an elf will continue after the initial rush to have the procedure. Some doctors have the opinion that some patients will want to return to the original look of their ears at some point in the future. Fashion trends come and go over the years and some in-demand beauty procedures eventually turn into something that is viewed as ugly or out of style.

Yu Wenlin told the newspaper that he will refuse to help patients who want to cut cartilage to look like elves they see in movies because it can be hard to revert back to their original appearance. Yu said, “As doctors we have to consider the patients in the long run. Many kids are asking for it on an impulse.”

- MA


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