[Microtia: technique for external ear reconstruction with autologous rib cartilage]

Handchir Mikrochir Plast Chir. 2001 May;33(3):162-70. doi: 10.1055/s-2001-15131.
[Article in German]


Various methods for treatment of classic microtia are known. Beside a prosthesis, the most common way of auricle reconstruction is the use of autogenous rib cartilage; a process that requires two to three operations. In the first operation, rib cartilage is harvested from the 6th to the 9th rib. The base of the framework is the 6th and 7th rib cartilage which is taken under preservation of the synchondrosis. To mimic a 3-dimensional structure, the triangular fossa and scapha are carved into the groundplate and the 8th rib is fixed as a helical rim. After optimising the framework, it is placed in a subcutaneous pocket on the mastoid plane. In a second operation, approximately three months later, the auriculocephalic angle is reconstructed with a cartilage wedge, which is covered by a temporalis fascia flap and split skin-graft from the hairbearing skull. Commonly, a third operation is needed for minor refinements. Currently, autogenous rib cartilage is the ideal material available for ear reconstruction resulting in an excellent cosmetical outcome, although harvesting of the cartilage causes a specific donor-site morbidity. Operations improving the hearing ability by building up the external hearing channel and middle ear are mainly done in cases of bilateral microtia. Ear reconstruction with autogenous rib cartilage produces a replicable aesthetic result. The patients should be at least eight years old.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cartilage, Articular / transplantation*
  • Child
  • Ear, External / abnormalities*
  • Ear, External / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reoperation
  • Ribs
  • Surgical Flaps
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Treatment Outcome