If you are considering ear reconstruction for microtia, it is important to evaluate all of your options with the help of a trained plastic surgeon. Choosing between a polyethylene framework (MEDPOR®) and rib cartilage ear reconstruction requires an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each procedure. As the creator of MEDPOR, Dr. John Reinisch has an advanced understanding of both microtia treatments and can discuss your ear reconstruction options with you at his Beverly Hills, CA, office. While he typically recommends MEDPOR, there may be considerations which make rib cartilage a better option you or your child.
The key difference between MEDPOR and rib cartilage ear reconstructions is the material used to rebuild the ear. With MEDPOR, Dr. Reinisch uses a microporous high-density polyethylene implant. This material is 100 percent biocompatible. The porous surface allows surrounding blood vessels and skin to integrate with the material for incredibly lifelike results.
With a rib cartilage ear reconstruction, the patient’s natural tissue is used to create the framework. This procedure requires an initial surgery to collect cartilage from the rib cage. There are a variety of other aspects of each procedure which patients and parents must consider.
With MEDPOR ear reconstruction, Dr. Reinisch can treat microtia in patients as young as three or four years old. For a rib ear reconstruction, we have to wait until about age eight to 10, well after children have already started school, for the child to have sufficient rib cartilage to create the framework.
At our practice, MEDPOR ear reconstruction is a single-stage surgery, saving patients and their families time, money, and discomfort. A rib cartilage ear reconstruction typically requires two to five surgeries to complete. The cartilage will need to be harvested, formed into a framework, and placed in a separate procedure. In some cases, patients will need additional procedures to elevate the ear, reposition the earlobe, or perform other adjustments.
Dr. Reinisch created the MEDPOR technique as a way to treat microtia with less discomfort than traditional methods. A rib cartilage reconstruction may be more painful for patients and is often associated with discomfort at the site where cartilage is harvested. There will also be a scar at the donor site. MEDPOR reconstruction typically involves less pain, and although Dr. Reinisch will need to collect a skin graft from beneath the scalp to cover the framework, he works carefully so there is essentially no visible scarring.
Ear reconstruction with MEDPOR offers a range of benefits over the traditional method of microtia repair. One key advantage is that MEDPOR allows Dr. Reinisch to perform ear canal repair at an earlier age. Addressing aural atresia early on can reduce the risk of your child developing speech disorders or experiencing language difficulties. In addition, they can enter school without the cosmetic concerns associated with microtia.
Dr. Reinisch developed MEDPOR to offer a number of benefits over traditional microtia repair techniques. Patients can generally expect less discomfort and one single-stage surgery.
Since the polyethylene framework bonds with natural tissue, MEDPOR is a very sturdy method of ear reconstruction. The reconstructed ear typically functions the same as biological ears with only a slight reduction of sensitivity in the area. The simplicity of this procedure also means it typically costs less than a rib cartilage ear reconstruction. As the creator of this technique, Dr. Reinisch can perform a precise, natural-looking reconstruction which improves the appearance and function of your or your child’s ear.
If you are considering ear reconstruction for you or your child, make sure to do your research. Dr. Reinisch can discuss your options with you and help you make the best decision for your unique needs and concerns. Find out more about the differences between MEDPOR and rib cartilage ear reconstruction by contacting our office online or calling (310) 385-6090 today.