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What You Need to Know about Ear Reconstruction

Learn about ear reconstruction surgery from plastic surgeon Robert J. Morin, M.D. in this Howcast video.

Transcript

Were discussing how to create or re-create an ear. There are several different techniques and several reasons why one would need to create or re-create an ear. Most commonly there is a condition called microtia, and this is when a child is born without a normal appearing ear. In this setting, plastic surgeons need to create an actual ear. There are several different ways we can do this, in fact, there are thee different ways we can do this. The first way is by using a synthetic ear replica that latches on to the side of the child or the adult's head.

There are problems with this, and that it has to be taken off every night and it can fall off at inopportune times. The second way to correct this is by using a synthetic implant, an implant made of silicone or some other substance that is put into a pocket underneath the skin and left in place. I also don't perform this procedure usually, because I don't like using synthetic, non-natural material in a patient's face. So, the procedure that I perform is that I take rib cartilage, I will not perform this procedure prior to a child being nine years old. So, we take rib cartilage from at least a nine year old child's rib, that cartilage is then carved into the shape of an ear, sewn together with steel suture and that ear construct is then put underneath the skin and creates and actual ear.

The procedure often involves additional procedures in order to increase the appearance and the contour and the elevation of the ear, but I believe that using a patient's own cartilage and a patient's own tissue to reconstruct their ear is the best way to perform ear construction or ear reconstructive surgery. So that's an overview of the three most common ways to perform microtia reconstruction, however, again I believe that using a patient's own cartilage is the best way to perform this procedure.

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