There are four options for treating microtia. You can do nothing, you can use a silicone prosthesis, you can augment the ear with rib cartilage, or you can use an ear implant. Dr. John Reinisch prefers implant reconstruction, a technique he helped develop over 30 years ago.View transcript
I'd like to discuss outer ear reconstruction. There are basically four options for your child's microtia. The first is to do nothing and there are some parents that feel that a child is born with microtia, and it shouldn't be changed. The second option is to use a silicone prosthesis. This is removable and taken off at night and replaced in the morning. It can look very natural. There are some problems however with the silicone prosthesis. It can fall off, it changes color over time, and needs to be replaced every two years. And I feel doesn't help a child with his self-esteem and confidence. The most common method is the use of rib cartilage. Many proponents of this method feel that rib cartilage is natural tissue. It should be remembered that rib is not the same as nasal or ear cartilage, which is fibrous cartilage and more flexible. The issue that I have with rib cartilage is that it leaves a chest scar and cannot be done before a child is well aware of their deformity when they're in school at close to 10 years of age or later. The fourth method is implant reconstruction, which I helped develop over 30 years ago. I like this method, having done the three previous discussed methods, because this method can be done as early as three years of age before children begin school. It is almost painless and therefore can be done without hospitalization in a single stage giving better shape and projection than one can get with the rib cartilage method.