What is Ear Reconstruction?
Ear reconstruction includes the surgical re-building of the ear in case of its absence or irregular shape(microtia). Ear reconstruction surgery is usually performed when the patient is five years old, and 3-4 surgical sessions might be required to create an ear, which is similar to the contralateral side. If any complications occur, more and different types of additional surgery can be necessary. The use of ear prosthesis is an alternative to the surgery.
What are the Details of Ear Reconstruction Surgery?
All stages of the surgery are performed under general anaesthesia in children, while some steps can be performed under local anaesthesia in adults.
The 1st stage surgery: is performed to remove the misshaped cartilage.
The 2nd stage surgery: is performed to place the autologous rib cartilage under the ear skin.
The 3rd stage surgery: is performed to place the skin graft behind the cartilage and place the ear lobe.
The 4th stage surgery: is performed for revising and correction.
In all ear reconstruction surgeries, visible scars will be present on both the ear and the front chest wall. Although there are ready-to-use materials which are named as “implants” for forming the cartilage framework of the ear, more commonly autologous reconstruction is preferred. In some cases, tissue expanders can be used in the 1st and 2nd stage surgeries to shorten the process. If tissue expanders are used, the patient will need to visit the surgeon’s office once or twice a week for 2-3 months to get the tissue expended.
Ear Reconstruction Frequently Asked Questions
- Patients should avoid sleeping on their sides for the first two postoperative weeks. After the second postoperative week, patients are allowed to sleep on their sides with a soft pillow. The head should be elevated for about 30 degrees with two or more pillows.
- During the first few weeks, swelling can occur. In a few weeks, the swelling would decrease, and the earlobe crease would be more prominent.
- During the first few weeks after the surgery, possible trauma, sunlight should be avoided, sauna, and tanning beds are not allowed to protect the surgery site.
- Since ear reconstruction surgeries are performed with a few month intervals, the whole procedure could take about a year to complete.
- Reconstruction of the external auditory canal does not affect the hearing quality. But if needed, the external auditory canal reconstruction will be performed by an ear nose and throat specialist surgeon.
Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon Professor Yazar is available in his private practice based in Nisantasi, Istanbul for appointments to provide detailed and tailored information on the procedure.