Partial or Total Ear Defects (Microtia)
The partial or total defect of the auricle - mostly only on one side - is referred to as microtia. Frequently, microtia involves the absence of the ear canal. In these cases the aesthetic problem is associated with a functional impairment. Since one ear is usually normal and the hearing is not impaired on this side, the affected patients mostly seek a cosmetic auricular reconstruction. However, the modern methods of surgical reconstruction allow meanwhile to restore simultaneously the hearing.
If there is a unilateral microtia, the auricular reconstruction is mostly aimed at enhancing the aesthetic appearance of the patient. For many years, we have successfully used a plastic framework (porous polyethylene - Medpor®) to replace the absent cartilage for the auricular reconstruction in patients suffering from microtia or having lost the ear in an accident of for other reasons. The traditional surgical procedures also used by Prof. Dr. Berghaus are based on the use of cartilage graft taken from the patient’s ribs. It is not possible to avoid a scar on the chest, which however can be made inconsoicuous. The shape and the position of the artificial ear can be adjusted to match the opposite side.
Preparation of the Surgery and Aftercare
A thorough personal consultation with the ENT specialist is essential prior to the surgery. The consultation should be aimed at discussing the personal wishes of the patient and the surgical possibilities, including the improvement of the hearing. The preparation of the surgery also involves the creation of a mould of the intact ear in order to achieve a symmetrical reconstruction result on the opposite side.
After the operation the patient has to wear a stable bandage for about five days. Generally, the patient is discharged from hospital seven days after the surgery. For some weeks, the new ear has to be protected against particular stress. Afterwards, there are no longer any postoperative restrictions.
Further useful information about related issues