There are three main approaches to reconstruction of the external ear for treatment of microtia, each is discussed in detail on their respective sections. The two most popular methods involve burying a framework under the skin to create a new ear which will be a permanent part of the patient.
The first, which is the oldest type of reconstruction, uses rib cartilage harvested from the chest that is carved and assembled into a framework with a shape similar to a normal appearing ear. Autologous rib cartilage transplantation is the current gold-stand treatment for microtia, but harvesting rib cartilage inevitably results in donor site injury.
The second method uses an implant made from Porous Polyethylene (Medpor) to create a normal appearing ear however it lacks bioactivity and may cause extrusion and infection.
The third method which is not part of the patient, is to use a removable or fix prosthetic ear that is attached to implants in the bone or applied to the skin with an adhesive.
Before the surgery, the surgeon will conduct a thorough history and examination, as well as hearing tests. The surgeon will also assess whether to use the person’s own (autologous) tissue, such as skin or cartilage or Medpor implants to reconstruct the ear or if a or prosthetic is more likely to yield a better result.