When considering reconstructive ear surgery for the treatment of microtia, autologous reconstruction (rib cartilage technique) is only one option available to patients. A related procedure, known as synthetic reconstruction, involves the use of a high-density polyethylene framework (MEDPOR®) and the body’s own tissue to create a new ear. First introduced in 1991, the MEDPOR technique has become increasingly used by facial plastic surgeons to treat both unilateral and bilateral microtia.
The Ear Surgery Center of Excellence in Los Angeles boasts an expert team of plastic reconstructive surgeons and otolaryngologists specializing in the treatment of microtia. Our doctors are highly skilled in the most advanced reconstructive techniques and are committed to providing each patient with comprehensive, individualized care for their condition.
To learn more about reconstructive treatments for microtia or to schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons, you may contact us at (888) 281-8537.
About Surgical Reconstruction of the Ear
At the Ear Surgery Center of Excellence, our facial plastic surgeons can perform synthetic reconstruction of the ear in as little as one stage. The main stage of the MEDPOR technique requires a 6-12 hour surgery and is often done on an outpatient basis, meaning patients can go home the same day as surgery.
The first step of synthetic reconstruction involves removing any malformed skin or cartilage from the affected ear. A pre-made MEDPOR framework is then carved to match the shape of the normal ear and sized slightly larger to account for growth. Next, a highly vascularized piece of tissue, known as the temporoparietal fascia flap, is removed from the skin behind the ear and used as a living membrane to cover the outside of the MEDPOR structure. A skin graft taken from the groin is wrapped and stitched around the entire structure to give the ear the same appearance as the rest of the skin. Finally, the new ear is sewn completely to the skull. In some cases, a second outpatient procedure will be necessary to refine the shape of the reconstructed ear.
Advantages of the MEDPOR Technique
In recent years, advanced techniques have been developed to minimize the invasiveness of synthetic ear reconstruction. The MEDPOR technique now offers several distinct advantages for microtia patients:
- Reconstruction can be completed in one or two stages
- Avoids chest surgery that must be performed during autologous reconstruction
- Can be performed on children at an earlier age (3-4 years old)
- Constructed to match the size and projection of the patient’s normal ear
- Outpatient procedure with reduced recovery time
Disadvantages of the MEDPOR Technique
Before undergoing any reconstructive ear surgery, it is important to consider the possible limitations of the procedure. Depending on the method used to perform MEDPOR ear reconstruction, disadvantages include:
- MEDPOR is a foreign material that will give the ear a set size and shape
- A scar from the skin graft may be noticeable
- Possible hair loss at the site of skin graft incision
- As a relatively new procedure, the long-term durability of the reconstructed ear is unknown
As an aesthetic procedure, ear reconstruction should be always be performed by an experienced surgeon with patient specificity in mind. Our facial plastic surgeons take the time to discuss expectations, preferences, and candidacy for each reconstructive technique to ensure that each patient receives the optimal treatment for their condition.
Contact a Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
At the Ear Surgery Center of Excellence, our goal is to provide the highest quality of care in a safe, state-of-the-art environment. Our facial plastic surgeons have trained at some of the most prestigious medical institutions in the country and utilize advanced surgical techniques to provide the most natural looking results. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation by calling (888) 281-8537 or filling out our online contact form.
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