Microtia Treatment Options
One of the biggest questions parents have regarding their child’s microtia treatment, is what options are available for their child. Currently there are several options that include: Rib-Graft Reconstruction, polyethylene plastic implant, soft tissue reconstruction (only for patients with atypical microtia-very small degree of deformity) or ear prosthesis.
Ears can be constructed from either rib cartilage or plastic. The main advantage of an ear constructed of rib cartilage is that it is created from the patient’s own tissue. It will not be rejected, extruded and is much less subject to infections than an ear constructed out of artificial material like silastic or medpore plastic. Because of the many complications, Dr. Jones doesn’t use plastic to reconstruct ears. Because on the inherent advantages of natural tissue, Dr. Jones uses the tried and true, time tested method of rib-graft reconstruction for microtia treatment (see What Actually Happens During Microtia Surgery). Plastic ear implants — while they can be performed on children as young as three — are notorious for rejection, infections and healing problems.
Many parents ask if Dr. Jones can use the mother’s cartilage or animal cartilage to create the reconstructed ear. While this is medically possible, it’s not recommended because the patient’s body would ultimately reject or absorb the cartilage and it would be necessary for the patient to take anti-rejection drugs, which have serious side effects. While this may be an acceptable risk for vital organ transplants, it is not for necessary for ear reconstruction.
Dr. Jones has made several advancements and innovations on the standard rib graft reconstruction techniques that have benefited patients tremendously. They include: ICG (Integrated Cartilage Graft), which has solved the problem of distortion in healing. The WAE (Wrap Around Earlobe) is a technique which creates a more natural looking hanging earlobe for the patient. JE (Juxtaposition Ear) is where Dr. Jones uses parts of the existing ear along with the grafted cartilage to create a more natural looking ear. The BE (Bespoke Ear) refers to the time and techniques that Dr. Jones employs to create an individualized mirror-image ear. Not one-size, fits all or cookie cutter techniques.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mark Mitchell Jones to see what option may be best for you or a member of your family.
Illustration of Integrated Cartilage Graft