With the advancement in technology, ear reconstruction surgery for microtia and anotia is now possible, says Dr Rajat Gupta
There are many children who are born with either no external ears (anotia) or rudimentary skin tags instead of the fully formed ear (microtia). Many others may lose either complete or partial ear due to any trauma or burns. For either of the above patients, ear reconstruction surgery is performed with the help of advance technology.
Case of Microtia/Anotia
Microtia/ Anotia is a birth deformity of the ear. Based on the statistics derived from different countries and ethnic races approximately one in 5000- 7000 births is reported to suffer from this occurrence.
Considering the complex shape and nature of the organ ear reconstruction is considered to be one of the most challenging surgeries of all times. In this case, one has to make sure that the ear looks natural. It is only the skilled and qualified Microtia surgeons who can perform the surgery in order to get successful results.
New ears are carved out of rib cartilage which is harvested from the same individual. The primary idea about rib cartilage ear surgery is to reconstruct the contours of a normal ear. Looking at the complex nature of an ear, a strong cartilage framework is provided which will help in reproducing the contours of ears properly. This procedure includes harvesting the rib cartilage from the patient.
Although there will be a scar of six to eight cm in length, it will not deform the patient’s chest. It will not deter any sports activity of the patient as well. The newly constructed ear is then sculpted from the patient's own cartilage. The sculpted ear framework is placed under the skin near the area where the ear should have been present. After a week of dressing, the patient can get his desired result of having an external ear! After a few months, post-auricular sulcus is created in order to make both the ears look symmetrical.
Post Operative Care
After the surgery, the patient has a dressing for approximately a week's time. During this time, the surgical site should be protected from any trauma. Individuals are advised to take adequate rest during this time until the tissues settle down and healing is taking place.
Unfortunately, in India, not many people know whom to approach for these surgeries. Many a times, people are under the misconception that this surgery will be performed by an ENT surgeon, however, one needs to understand that this is a type of reconstructive plastic surgery and is best performed by an expert ear reconstruction Surgeon only.
Thus, it is the lack of adequate knowledge that makes the matter all the more difficult. In some of the cases, when the concerned person visits the wrong person, there are chances that the surgery has gone wrong and this has resulted in further complicating the case.
Recently an ear reconstruction surgery was performed on a doctor. He has completed his Medical studies and he himself is a practicing doctor. He was born with a Microtia. However, unfortunately, he was not aware until this very stage, whom to get it operated from. So, he did not get his surgery even until the age of 35 years! A few months back, he got to know about us and he approached us. We performed his surgery similar to explained above. On the day of his dressing removal, once he saw, his new ear, both his and his wife expressions were overwhelming. Both their eyes were moist with happiness and he exclaimed that he missed his ear for 35 years. And from now onwards he will be cherishing his new ear for the rest of his life!
Any sort of surgery is all about taking extra care and caution. And it is all the more applicable if it is concerning one of your organs. Ear construction surgery is all about specialization and doing it from the right place by the qualified plastic surgeon.
The writer is Plastic & Cosmetic Surgeon, RG Aesthetics, New Delhi