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Post-traumatic and Revision Ear Reconstruction Surgery


Post-traumatic ear deformities are those that result from dog bites, human bites, car accidents, burns, etc. These types of trauma can result in loss of small parts or even the entire ear. Dr. Charles Thorne is able to perform a variety of ear repair surgical procedures at his New York City practice for patients who have experienced trauma to the ear or resulting in loss of all or part of the external ear.

The surgical approach to post-traumatic deformities is similar in many ways to the surgical repair of congenital deformities such as microtia but there are important differences. In injuries created by trauma the surrounding skin may be damaged and scarred which affects the reconstructive choices. In some cases a tissue expander is inserted as a first stage to gradually stretch and expand the scarred skin. The good news about trauma related auricular deformities is that the external auditory canal and tragus are usually present and intact. The presence of a normal concha, canal and tragus makes a good result from reconstruction more likely. 

This is rare case that shows Post traumatic case using tissue expander (balloon on left) to expand skin and then cartilage grafts to generate the result on the right.

The left image shows the appearance of the ear after a car accident. On the right the patient is shown after Dr. Thorne has completed the ear reconstruction using rib cartilage grafts.

Post-traumatic Reconstruction

Whether you experienced an automobile accident, underwent cancer treatment, or were bitten by a dog, you may have lost all or part of your ear. Dr. Thorne can perform rib cartilage ear reconstruction, MEDPOR® reconstruction, or prosthetic repair to improve the appearance and functionality of your ears depending on the situation.

Certain components of the outer ear can be dramatically affected by trauma, and rib cartilage serves as the most biocompatible, effective material to replace the compromised structures of the external ear. Using rib cartilage has long served as the most effective treatment for the reconstruction of ears, and is completed by carefully harvesting healthy cartilage from the ribs to create the structure for an ear to then be precisely positioned.

Revision Ear Reconstruction Surgery

In cases where the first attempt at reconstruction for microtia was unsuccessful it may be necessary to completely discard the cartilage framework, take new cartilage from the opposite side of the chest, and insert a completely new framework. This is a significant undertaking because the risk of a complication are higher. 

Revision ear reconstruction. This patient was unhappy with her ear reconstruction (left). The framework was discarded and an entirely new framework was created and inserted into the skin pocket.

Ear lobe reconstruction after trauma using cartilage from the nasal septum. Top left: An outline of the desired lobe is made. Top right: A piece of nasal septal cartilage is inserted into the pocket. Bottom left: The appearance immediately post operatively. Bottom Right: Final appearance.
Dog bite injury to ear. The left shows the appearance after the dog bite injury had healed. On the right is the result obtained by Dr. Thorne using rib cartilage grafts.

Consult a Leader in Ear Reconstruction

Depending on the unique physical condition of your ear, Dr. Thorne will conduct a consultation to examine your overall facial symmetry, the position of your hairline, the quality of existing tissue, and your medical history to better determine which course of action is best for your path to a natural-looking, fully reconstructed ear. Once you and Dr. Thorne have confirmed the best surgical approach, he will compile a general outline of the different stages of surgery so you know what to expect. To learn more, or to schedule your consultation, contact our office today.

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"These are just a few of the adjectives to describe my experience and visit with Dr. Thorne. His professionalism, expertise, and manner was reassuring and comforting to me... I have referred family, friends, and co-workers."

From a Review on Vitals.com

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