Five Advantages of Cartilage Reconstruction for Microtia Patients
Microtia is a birth defect characterized by a small or malformed external ear. Microtia is primarily a cosmetic issue, though it sometimes affects hearing. Microtia usually affects only one ear, but it can affect both.
Dr. John Reinisch offers microtia reconstruction at his Beverly Hills, CA, practice. Microtia treatment reconstructs the outer ear to enhance its size and shape. Dr. Reinisch offers several reconstruction techniques, one of which is rib cartilage reconstruction. Each technique offers unique advantages and disadvantages. Here we discuss five of the most notable advantages of rib cartilage construction for microtia patients.
Rib Cartilage Reconstruction Uses the Patient’s Own Tissues Exclusively
One thing that sets rib cartilage reconstruction apart from other microtia treatment techniques is that it uses the patient’s own tissues exclusively. Other microtia techniques reconstruct the ear using synthetic materials not naturally found in the body.
When it is possible to do so, it is generally ideal to replace one material with the same material - or, in this case, cartilage with cartilage. In addition to being a natural material for ear construction, cartilage provides better sensation in the ear and develops its own blood supply, so it integrates with the body.
Cartilage Is Not Rejected
Rejection is one of the risks of other microtia techniques. Any time a synthetic material is placed in the body, there is a chance the body will reject it, triggering an immune response that results in infection. Since cartilage is naturally found in the body and rib cartilage reconstruction is performed using the patient’s body tissues, the implant is not rejected. The overall risk of infection is lower with cartilage as well.
Cartilage Is Flexible, Yet Durable
Cartilage is bendable, so it can withstand force without breaking or fracturing. The cartilage construction also does not project much from the scalp. These things make cartilage a durable reconstruction that isn’t prone to injury or trauma if children participate in sports or other physical activities.
Cartilage Grows With the Child
Most of our Beverly Hills patients undergo microtia treatment as children. Dr. Reinisch can create a synthetic implant that is proportionate to the patient’s head and the opposite ear. However, one of the advantages of a cartilage reconstruction is the cartilage’s ability to grow with the child. As the child grows, cartilage regenerates cells, so the ear grows naturally with the patient.
Cartilage Is Long-lasting
Under the care, skill, and expertise of Dr. Reinisch, our Beverly Hills patients can expect successful and long-lasting results from rib cartilage reconstruction.
Cartilage reconstruction offers many benefits to microtia patients, but there are drawbacks as well. Rib cartilage reconstruction requires between two and five surgeries, and treatment usually cannot take place until a child is around eight to 10 years old. Patients who want earlier treatment should consider alternate microtia treatment techniques, such as MEDPOR®.
If you are considering ear reconstruction for your child and would like to learn more about the techniques offered by Dr. John Reinisch, send us a message and schedule a consultation.