Microsurgical reattachment of totally amputated ears

Plast Reconstr Surg. 1987 Apr;79(4):535-41. doi: 10.1097/00006534-198704000-00003.


At a time when microsurgical reattachment of amputated limbs is commonplace, successful reattachment of total ear amputations is rare. Avulsed vessels, small diameters (0.3 to 0.7 mm), and technical difficulties provide primary obstacles. Three clinical cases of ear reattachments are presented which encompass the clinical spectrum of an uncomplicated success, a salvage of an impending failure, and a late failure due to venous thrombosis. In all cases there was difficulty with identification of vessels, with differentiation of arteries from veins, and in the performance of venous anastomoses. Vein grafts were necessary in two of the three patients. Anticoagulation was essential in alleviating venous thrombosis. Medicinal leeches (Hirudo medicinalis) were used to salvage one case with venous thrombosis. Despite the technical difficulties and long operative times, successful microvascular reattachment of an amputated ear is superior to any other means of reattachment or reconstruction.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Amputation, Traumatic / surgery*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ear, External / injuries*
  • Ear, External / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leeches
  • Male
  • Microsurgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy
  • Thrombophlebitis / therapy
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures*