Trauma Management of the Auricle
15 September 2015 (online)
Smaller injuries of the auricle, such as lacerations without tissue loss, have more or less standardized treatment protocols that require thorough wound closure of each affected layer. Even extended lacerations of larger parts of the ear quite often heal with only minor irregularities. New in vivo diagnostic tools have aided the understanding of this outstanding “skin flap behavior.” At the other end of the trauma severity spectrum are partial or complete amputations of the ear. Here, the debate has become more intense over the last decade. There were numerous reports of successful microvascular reattachments in the 1990s. Consequently, pocket methods and their variations have received increasing attention because the results seem to be convincing. Nevertheless, the pressure damage due to banking larger parts of the elastic cartilage in the mastoid region is tremendous, and the tissue for secondary reconstruction is severely injured. Particularly in cases of acute trauma with relevant concomitant injuries to the patient and in cases in which the amputated area is in a critical state, direct wound closure is a straightforward and safe option. Subsequent thoughtfully planned secondary reconstruction using ear or rib cartilage, or even allogenous material as an ear framework, can achieve excellent aesthetic results.