"I like my new ears very much. I feel much more confident and like wearing my hair up now."
Unfortunately some babies are born with very small rudimentary ears. This is known as microtia. In addition a small number of adults lose part of their ear through trauma or skin cancer. Sometimes we are required to use ear reconstruction techniques to rebuild ears after poorly performed aesthetic surgery elsewhere. Whatever the cause we are able to reconstruct complete or partial absence of the ear using your own cartilage.
Ear reconstruction is usually performed under general anaesthetic. Since the ear is made from cartilage and skin we need to rebuild it using your own cartilage and skin. For small defects we can use cartilage from your other ear. For larger defects or completely missing ears we tend to use your rib cartilage.
The harvested cartilage is carved into the shape of the missing ear or part ear. This is then positioned and covered with a flap of skin from behind your ear. Small silicon drains are inserted to suck the skin onto the cartilage.
Frequently a second procedure is required to project the ear and to insert a skin graft behind to recreate the groove behind your ear.
Alternative techniques using buried plastic implant (Medpor TM) can be used but we tend not to favour these due to the risk of ulceration through the skin.
If your ear has been rebuilt with ear cartilage you can go home the same day. If we have used rib cartilage then patients usually stay in for 3-4 days. The suction drains are removed before you go home.
A sponge dressing covers and protects the reconstructed ear for 2 weeks. The skin stitches are removed at 7 days. You will be seen frequently as an outpatient during the healing phase so that we can monitor your progress. If a second stage is required this would typically be scheduled 3-6 months later.
Ear reconstruction may incur risks which include but are not limited to: pain, bleeding, bruising, swelling, infection, haematoma, scars of unpredictable quality, asymmetry, irregularity, an imperfect aesthetic outcome. There is a 5% chance of recurrence of the prominence and 3% chance of suture extrusion.
With all cosmetic procedures there is a small risk of dissatisfaction with the outcome. We aim to minimise this by carefully evaluating why you want surgery, what you want from surgery and why you are having surgery now.
We have studied this in our own patients. Those patients are very happy or satisfied with the outcome.
Our 'inclusive care' policy is such that if there is a complication or adverse outcome from surgery within the first year then we can provide any further treatment required at no additional cost to you.
If you would like to learn more about this procedure, simply provide your details in the form below and we'll send you a downloadable PDF with more information.