Stahl’s Ear

What is Stahl’s ear

Stahl's Ear Image A Stahl’s ear deformity consists of an extra cartilage fold in the scapha portion of the ear. This results in a pointed ear shape.


Stahl’s ear is caused by misshapen cartilage. It is characterized by an extra horizontal fold of cartilage (crus). Normally, there are two: superior and inferior. In Stahl’s ear, there is a third horizontal crus. The helix (or upper portion of the ear) may uncurl, giving the ear a pointed shape.


If Stahl’s ear is discovered in the first few weeks to months after birth, ear molding may correct this deformity and avoid the need for surgery. Infants’ ears are still soft and flexible, which makes them responsive to molding. Like many other conditions in which ear molding is useful (such as cryptotia, constricted ears and protruding ears), the earlier the intervention, the shorter the treatment. Early treatment also often leads to better outcomes.

In older children, surgical correction is necessary to correct the deformity. Surgery to correct Stahl’s ear involves reshaping, repositioning and suturing the abnormal cartilage to reverse the pointed shape of the ear. Although a general anesthetic is needed, the operation is done on an outpatient basis and your child will be able to return home the same day.

Reviewed by David W. Low, MD