Prosthetic Ears Versus Ear Reconstructive Surgery
Parents are always looking for a solution to correct their
child's ear deformity, i.e., Microtia, Artesia, Goldenhar Syndrome, and
Treacher Collins Syndrome.
I am obviously very close to, and concerned about continuing the promotion
and practice of ear reconstructive surgery. My goal over the past nine
years has been to reproduce replacement anatomy to the best of my
abilities. Whenever I encounter someone who does not share the same
goal, I tend to express my views rather passionately.
It has been my experience that when a person comes to me
with a less than adequate prosthesis, they're only out the cost of the item,
and it is easily replaced. When they come to me with a surgically
disfigured attempt at ear reconstructive surgery, my options, and their last
hopes, for a realistic anatomical replacement are limited. Also, I am
devastated to hear this non-predictable procedure continues to be
recommended for younger patients.
Some of the reasons why the operations fall short of looking
like a normal ear are as follows:
Finding sufficient amount of tissue.
There is not enough bulk tissue to get the
reconstructive ear to stand away from the head and atrophy of tissue
Color of tissue is a problem and scarring is always an
It is hard to get the rib cartilage to attach to the
mastoid process. It is just a movable graft and it does not
Surgeons are working with distorted anatomy to begin
with: all of these items are against them in the beginning.
Thus, results fall short of realism.
Ear reconstructive surgery is always an option,
however it is not reversible. Prosthetic restoration is
reversible. A question for physicians who still practice this
surgical travesty - "I wonder what option you would choose if the
choice were on a personal level?"