With microtia the inner ear may be normal. This allows hearing to be salvaged using bone-anchored hearing aids. Autologous ear reconstruction or prosthetic ears may then be used, to give a cosmetically acceptable outcome. Ear reconstruction is an extended procedure rather than a single event. It can be partitioned into phases of management assessment, surgery, and rehabilitation support.
Each ear reconstruction typically requires two surgical procedures although a third procedure may be required for minor revisions of shape or modification of the shape with growth. The service provides a multidisciplinary approach to assessment, surgical reconstruction and follow up care.. Please note this information may not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals. Going home Real stories Take a virtual tour of Great Ormond Street Hospital Wards and departments Ward and admissions information Departments Conditions and treatments Conditions we treat Medicines information Health dictionary General medical conditions Procedures and treatments General health advice Clinical outcomes Clinical guidelines Our people Staff A-Z Our research Our vision Research and innovation Taking part in research Our research infrastructure Collaborate with us Contact us Research activity Our history of medical breakthroughs Information for researchers Our research facilities Publications and Research Reviews.
You are here Home Conditions and treatments Procedures and treatments Ear reconstruction Ear reconstruction Ear reconstruction is a specialised kind of plastic surgery, which is used to form an ear that looks as normal as possible. The first stage This stage is where the surgeon removes the cartilage and forms the ear shape under the skin. Outpatient appointment and pre-operative assessment clinic At the outpatient appointment, the surgeon will explain about the operation in more detail, discuss any worries you may have and ask you to give permission for the operation by signing a consent form.
The day before the operation We will contact you on the day before the operation to explain fasting times. Your child should have a bath or shower and hair wash the night before the operation.
Ear Reconstruction/Microtia, Salt Lake City | University of Utah Health
Operation day When you have arrived on the preadmission unit, the nurses will help you and your child get ready for the operation. What does the operation involve? Are there any risks?
Although the surgeon will give you further detail about the risks of this operation at the pre-operative assessment clinic, brief details follow: There is a small chance that your child could develop an infection, either at the chest incision or the ear incision. However, your child will have a course of antibiotics to reduce this risk. All surgery carries a risk of bleeding during or after the operation, usually in the form of blood collecting around the operation site, causing a bruise and swelling haematoma.
This can be painful and if significant may require a further operation to relieve it. There is a small risk that once the cartilage is in place at the ear site, it may be re-absorbed into the body. This is most likely to happen following an infection or damage to the operation site.
Ear reconstruction surgery
The skin over the cartilage may also become damaged, again due to infection or trauma. If the skin is badly damaged, the cartilage may become visible, in which case a further operation may be needed.
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Within a few months of the operations, the majority of the swelling will have gone down so you will be able to have a better idea about the final result. What happens afterwards? Going home You and your child will need to take care of the new ear for several months after the operation to stop it becoming damaged.
They will also check both ear and chest wounds as well. The chest dressing may need to be changed before going home. This should then stay in place until the appointment one week later. We will give you an appointment to come back to the dressings clinic for a further wound check one week after going home. Your child should wear clothes that button up the front to avoid pulling clothes over the head and potentially damaging his or her new ear.
Your child should avoid sleeping on the reconstructed ear for three months. Pillows can be used to stop your child rolling on to the ear while asleep. It can also help to raise the head of the bed a little so your child is sleeping in a more upright position. Your child is free to have a shower or bath and hair wash once you are at home. However, he or she needs to take care drying the ear to avoid damaging it. We advise using a hairdryer on the cool setting to dry the ear rather than rubbing it.
If you notice any signs of infection, such as heat, redness, swelling or discharge from the ear, please contact us straightaway. If you see any signs of exposed cartilage whitish in colour or wires silver , please contact us immediately.
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Any pain in the chest area should improve over time. It is often easier just to remove the relevant arm of the glasses until the ear heals. If your child has had both ears reconstructed, the optician should be able to fix the glasses on to a soft head band. Your child should be able to return to school after the dressings clinic appointment but there will be some restrictions on activities: Start school a little later than usual and finish earlier to avoid knocks and bumps from crowds.
No PE for one month. No swimming for six weeks. No contact sports for three months. Please make sure that the ear is gently cleaned with a cotton bud to prevent a build up of shampoo and dead skin. You should start this about a month after the operation. We realise that it can feel strange to have a new ear so we advise that your child gets used to looking in the mirror regularly. Touching the ear gently can also help your child get used to the new ear and also helps de-sensitise the skin. Operation sites can become damaged in the sun, so ensure that your child wears a wide-brimmed sunhat and stays out of direct sunlight where possible for several months after the operation.
We will arrange another outpatient appointment for three months after the operation. The second stage This stage usually happens between six and nine months after the first stage and is where the surgeon lifts the newly formed ear away from the side of the head. Pre-operative assessment clinic This is very similar to the appointment before the first stage operation. The day before the operation As with the first stage operation, we will contact you on the day before the operation to explain fasting times. Operation day The anaesthetist will see your child and explain the planned anaesthetic and pain relief for this operation.
Going home Your child will be able to go home once the drain has been removed, usually the day after the operation. The following instructions will help you: We will give you an appointment to come back to the dressings clinic to have both operation sites checked about one week after going home. Your child is free to have a hair wash once the dressings have been removed. As before, he or she needs to take care drying the ear to avoid damaging it. Clean around the ear and behind it with a cotton bud to stop any build up of shampoo or dead skin. The graft site will also need cleaning to keep it free from scabs.
When your child is washing his or her hair, we suggest brushing the area gently with a baby hairbrush. If the area develops scabs, these can be gently softened with baby oil or olive oil. Your child might find it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position for the first few days, so might need some extra pillows to sleep in a more upright position. He or she should avoid lying on his or her new ear for three months after the operation.
Your child should be able to return to school after the dressings clinic appointment but there will be some restrictions on activities for a few weeks: Start school a little later than usual and finish earlier.
Ear Reconstruction with Postauricular Flap
To avoid knocks and bumps from crowds. You should also apply some sun block cream SPF 25 or more to prevent any sun damage. You should call the ward if: Your child is in a lot of pain and pain relief does not seem to help. Your child is not drinking any fluids. The operation site is red or inflamed, and feels hotter than the surrounding skin. There is any oozing or bleeding from the operation site.
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More information If you have any questions, please telephone the Clinical Nurse Specialists for Plastic Surgery on ext. Compiled by:. Last review date:.