Ear reconstruction is one of the most challenging surgeries faced by reconstructive surgeons because of its complex three-dimensional structure. Various surgical methods and materials have been used over the years. The process of microtia reconstruction using tissue expander is performed in three stages of first that is implantation of tissue expander, second stage involves framework fabrication using autologous costal cartilage and implantation in the pocket and third stage involves tragus and concha reconstruction.
Totally 180 cases of microtia reconstruction using tissue expander and autologous costal cartilage over 2 years were enrolled, while two age groups were compared regarding operative time, tissue expansion, number of autologous costal cartilage harvested and complications during and after reconstruction.
The overall complication in microtia reconstruction was 25%. No major difference was found between complication rates among the 2 age groups. Similarly, no significant difference was found between two groups in term of surgical time and tissue expansion. The major difference was found in number of costal cartilage harvested for the framework fabrication among the two groups.
Microtia reconstruction using tissue expander and autologous costal cartilage is a standard method of ear reconstruction with good satisfaction rate for surgeons and patients. Although the complication rate was high in our study, most of the cases were managed with acceptable results. Therefore, a standard protocol should be developed regarding the timing of the surgery for microtia reconstruction, considering pre-operative radiological analysis of the costal cartilage development along with age and weight of the patient.