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External ear reconstructive surgery

Surgery to reconstruct the outer ear (auricle)

If your ear has been damaged due to an accident, infection, failed surgery or birth defect, HCA UK’s experts can help.

About

Falls, accidents, blows to the head, severe burns, infections and failed surgery are just some of the ways ears can be lost or damaged. They can also be malformed and misshapen due to congenital birth defects known as microtia or even absent altogether (anotia).

External ear reconstructive surgery can reconstruct the ear using your own tissue. If this isn’t possible, a prosthetic ear can be anchored to the head.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    The surgery is carried out in two stages and involves making a new ear from cartilage taken from your rib cage. During the first stage, your consultant will remove a small amount of cartilage, reshape it and wire it together to create a three dimensional ear. Your consultant will then create a pocket under your skin and insert the reconstructed ear covering it over with flaps of skin and closing the cut with stitches.

    After about six months, the second stage of the procedure involves elevating (lifting) the new ear from your head so that it sits correctly.

    Both stages are carried out under general anaesthetic so you’ll be asleep throughout.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    The surgery is not suitable for children under 10 years because cartilage from their rib cage is not mature enough.

    Your consultant will fully explain each stage of the procedure and answer any questions you might have.

    The first stage of the surgery will take approximately five hours and the second stage is quicker, approximately X hours.

    During the surgery, you’ll be asleep under general anaesthetic, so you’ll need to avoid food and drink for a few hours before the procedure.

    There may be some risks and side effects involved as with all surgery. Your consultant will explain these to you so that you have all the information you need.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    After the first stage surgery, you’ll probably have to stay in hospital for about five days and for up to three days following the second stage.

    You’ll probably feel drowsy when you wake up and you may feel a little uncomfortable, but our specialist nurses will be on hand to offer pain relief if you need it.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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