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Microtia is a congenital defect where the external ear is underdeveloped. It is not only present an aesthetic problem as patients with microtia can suffer from hearing loss and ear infections. To improve the quality of life, an ear reconstruction surgery is recommended.
The ear is a very important and intricate organ that not only helps humans with hearing but with keeping balance too. Due to birth defects, such as microtia, or different types of accidents, patients may experience deformities of the ear. They can be purely aesthetic problems, but most of the times they also affect the health of the patient. As these are not problems which can be fixed purely by medication, surgery is a viable option to resume a normal course of life.
Ear reconstructive surgery is a complicated procedure which has the role to improve both the looks and the functionality of the ear.
This surgery cannot be performed on children under the age of 9 years old. Firstly, the patient is put under general anesthesia. The surgeon will then reshape the tissue surrounding the organ. After this, he will harvest cartilage from the ribcage. The cartilage will be carved and molded to resemble a normal ear. The new structure will be inserted into a skin flap behind the ear, anchoring it to remain in position. A skin graft will be used to cover the cartilage and make it look like a normal ear. This procedure can be done with a prosthetic ear too, but using the patient’s own cartilage is recommended as the new ear will grow at the same time with the body and it will have a more natural look.
There are a number of benefits attached to this procedure:
Even though this is a very complicated and detailed procedure, the recovery time is minimal. The patient will have to remain in the hospital for a few days after the surgery so he can be monitored closely to ensure that there are no complications. He will have to wear a soft dressing on the ear for some days after the procedure to avoid any trauma or infections. The ear will be swollen for about 4-6 weeks after the surgery. It is recommended that for at least a week, the patient should sleep on his back to avoid any kind of ear injuries.
There are not many risks attached to this surgery. There is a small possibility of getting an infection or to suffer heavy bleeding from the incision area. Chest pains due to the removed cartilage can be a common occurrence. In some rare cases, hearing loss will not get better after this surgery.
It doesn’t matter if an ear problem only affects the looks or the health too, it is important to take all the necessary steps to remedy it, for the good of the patient. At Marina del Rey Hospital, our surgeons have been trained to perform all kinds of difficult medical procedures, including this one. Call now at 888.600.5600 and see if you or a loved one should have this surgery.
Matthew K. Lee, M.D.See Profile »
Evan S. Walgama, M.D.See Profile »
Henry H. Chen, M.D., M.B.A.See Profile »
Gene C. Liu, M.D.See Profile »
Stephen Pincus, M.D.See Profile »
Arthur W. Wu, M.D.See Profile »
Abraham Tzadik, M.D.See Profile »
Marc J. Kayem, M.D.See Profile »
Allen Ho, M.D.See Profile »
Payam Daneshrad, M.D.See Profile »
Jon Mallen-St. Clair, M.D., Ph.D.See Profile »
Anca Barbu, M.D., FACSSee Profile »
Yu-Tung Wong, M.D.See Profile »