02 June 2008 (online)
Management of microtia can be one of the most rewarding yet humbling challenges faced by the reconstructive surgeon. The preferred method of total auricular reconstruction is with autologous cartilage and skin, based on modifications of the methods of Tamer and Brent. Our goals in auricular reconstruction of microtia are: (1) a satisfied patient; (2) proper positioning; and (3) a pleasing size and contour. The reconstructive process in classic microtia reconstruction can be divided into four stages. The first stage is the creation and placement of the underlying framework derived from the autologous rib cartilage of the sixth to eighth ribs. The second stage is rotation of the lobule from the microtia remnant into position inferiorly on the helical rim. The third stage is elevation by creation of an auriculocephalic angle with a skin graft. The final stage is formation of the tragus from a composite graft from the opposite ear. Atypical microtia presents distinct challenges to the reconstructive surgeon. Complete framework insertion may not be necessary with the presence of some recognizable structure. Other circumstances arise that make each reconstruction unique, such as low-lying hairline or skin shortage. The extreme situations of skin shortage will benefit from the use of a temporoparietal fascia flap. However, adherence to the well-established principles of total auricular reconstruction will lead to satisfaction of the patient, the patient's family, and the surgeon.
microtia - auricular reconstruction - autologous cartilage