Learn More About the Benefits of Rib Cartilage Ear Construction

Using a child’s rib cartilage to carve an ear framework has been popular for more than 40 years. Cartilage reconstruction is a type of microtia treatment that requires between 2 and 5 surgeries. The surgeries start when the child has grown big enough, typically between six and ten years of age, to provide enough rib cartilage to make an adult size ear. 

First, the cartilage from several ribs is removed through an incision on the child’s chest. The cartilage is carved and pieced together to create an ear framework. This framework is buried underneath the scalp. After the ear has healed, more surgeries are required to complete the reconstruction: elevating the ear away from the scalp, repositioning the earlobe and other adjustments. 


  • This technique uses the body’s own tissue exclusively.
  • In expert hands, the patient may have an excellent, long-lasting result.
  • Reconstructed ear can withstand the rigors of most sports, not necessarily because it is made of rib, but because it does not project much from the scalp and therefore may be less likely to be subjected to trauma.


  • This technique requires between two and five surgeries.
  • Rib ear reconstruction is done after children have already started school, around 8-10 years old, meaning they will begin their education with noticeable microtia.
  • Cartilage removal may be painful and requires hospitalization, IV pain medications, a permanent chest scar and potential chest wall deformity.
  • Canal surgery cannot begin until after the ear is reconstructed with cartilage. As a result, hearing cannot be restored until children are older after significant brain development has taken place.
  • Cartilage ears do not project from the side of the head often necessitating a procedure to “pin back” the opposite ear for symmetry.

Rib Cartilage Ear Reconstruction                               FRONT VIEW OF A RIB CARTILAGE EAR RECONSTRUCTION

Rib Cartilage Ear Reconstruction                     Front view of Rib Cartilage Ear Reconstruction

Lateral view of a Rib Cartilage Ear Reconstruction                               Chest Scar from Rib Harvest                      

Lateral view of a Rib Cartilage Ear Reconstruction              Chest Scar from Rib Harvest

Learn More

We encourage you to contact our Beverly Hills microtia surgeon's office using our simple online form or by phone at (833) 896-3277 to learn more about cartilage reconstruction. We are also proud to be working an entirely new way of repairing the ear, using your own cartilage growth cells. Dr. Reinisch can review your options and help you choose between rib cartilage ear reconstruction and the advanced MEDPOR® technique in a private consultation.

Dr. John Reinisch, MD

Reinisch Plastic Surgery

  • Exceptionally well-qualified
  • Graduate of Harvard Medical School
  • Board-certification in plastic surgery 
  • Created the MEDPOR® technique in 1991
  • Has successfully treated over 20,000 children 

Patients come from across the country and around the world to benefit from his expert care. To schedule your consultation, contact our office online or call us at (833) 896-3277

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Reinisch Plastic Surgery

9033 Wilshire Blvd.
Ste 200
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Open Today 8:00am - 5:00pm

(833) 896-3277 Send a message

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