MEDPOR® for Microtia
Microtia is a deformity that is classified by small, underdeveloped ears. Microtia arises while a baby is developing in the womb. The condition usually affects only one ear, but some children suffer from bilateral microtia, which affects both ears.
Microtia has both aesthetic and functional effects. Microtia can leave children self-conscious about their appearance, and can also compromise hearing. Fortunately, microtia can be corrected with ear reconstruction. Traditional ear reconstruction has been around for over 55 years, but in 1991, Beverly Hills, CA, plastic surgeon John Reinisch developed the MEDPOR® procedure. MEDPOR is a more advanced ear reconstruction technique that offers our patients several benefits over traditional ear reconstruction.
What Is the MEDPOR Technique?
MEDPOR is an advanced ear reconstruction technique that Dr. Reinisch developed to provide patients with a more comfortable procedure that provided enhanced cosmetic results, and that could be performed on younger children.
MEDPOR stands for microporous high-density polyethylene implant. During MEDPOR surgery, a biocompatible implant is attached to the side of a patient’s head. This procedure differs from traditional ear reconstruction, which uses a patient’s rib cartilage to create an ear implant. The MEDPOR implant framework is designed to match the shape and projection of the opposite, natural ear, so that surgery produces symmetrical results, and future ear pinning surgeries are not necessary. Once the framework is placed, Dr. Reinisch grafts the patient’s own skin (usually collected from beneath the patient’s scalp) over the structure. The MEDPOR framework is porous, so blood vessels and skin can integrate with the material, which promotes proper healing.
Candidates for MEDPOR Ear Reconstruction
The MEDPOR technique was primarily developed so that ear reconstruction surgery could be performed on younger patients. Whereas patients cannot typically undergo traditional ear reconstruction until they are 10 years old, the MEDPOR procedure can be performed on children as young as three or four years old, and is equally suitable for older adults.
One of the most important considerations for MEDPOR candidacy at our Beverly Hills practice is whether the patient can safely undergo general anesthesia, which is necessary for surgery. Because of this, patients must be in good overall health, be free of illnesses or conditions that compromise the immune system, and be at least 28 pounds.
It is also important to consider if ear canal reconstruction is necessary to address hearing problems. Dr. Reinisch works alongside audiologists to determine if ear canal reconstruction is needed (and if it can be performed with MEDPOR). If ear canal reconstruction is not necessary, or cannot be safely achieved, patients may still be candidates for cosmetic MEDPOR, which can enhance the appearance of the ear without addressing hearing loss.
Benefits of MEDPOR Ear Reconstruction
People from around the world travel to our Beverly Hills practice to undergo MEDPOR due to its many advantages over traditional ear reconstruction. Some of the most notable benefits of MEDPOR include:
- Wider treatment candidacy
- Single-stage surgical procedure
- Possibility for improved hearing capabilities
- Typically results in less scarring than traditional ear reconstruction
- Generally costs less than traditional ear reconstruction, since only a single surgery is necessary
- Enhanced self-confidence
- Improved quality of life
If you or your child suffers from microtia and you would like to learn more about the MEDPOR technique, Dr. John Reinisch would be happy to answer any questions you may have. To schedule a consultation at our plastic surgery practice, send us a message online or call (310) 461-4375 at your earliest convenience.