How durable are the reconstructed ears?
The durability of the reconstructed ears depends on the materials used for the procedure.
Typically, doctors use the patient’s rib cartilage or artificial, synthetic materials for ear reconstruction. However, nowadays surgical reconstruction with autologous tissue is the most common method for ear reconstruction.
Ear reconstructions using rib cartilage have been proven to last more than 50 years. These types of reconstructed ears do not have restrictions on patient activities. There is also no need for extra protection in contact sports. The durability of artificial ears is likely to be very good, but it is less proven in because there is no long-term follow up beyond 20 years.
An artificial, synthetic ear is a foreign body with the possibility of becoming infected and needing to be removed in the future. Other risks include:
These types of problems over the implant or near it are possible, but with very low risk.
The Future of Ear Reconstructions
The next phase of ear reconstruction could be the 3D bioprinting techniques, to create bio-compatible ear prostheses from human stem cells. The advanced technologies could significantly improve durability and longevity of the reconstructed ears.