I am frequently asked: “Dr. Lewin, why don’t you use the Rib Cartilage technique to perform Microtia ear surgery?”
Up until 2010, I offered the Rib Cartilage surgery to patients who wanted that technique. However, in my own hands it became very clear to me that for any patient, I was able to produce better, more realistic and symmetric results with the Porous Implant Ear Reconstruction “PIER” technique (commonly known as Medpor, Su-Por).
Part of the reason I feel PIER has a better outcome is actually technical. For the rib cartilage to be strong enough to hold it’s shape in the body, it has to be made much thicker than our natural ear. But the beauty of the porous implant is that the ear framework can be made extremely delicate but still be very strong.
I do not believe I could ever create a cartilage ear that appears as realistic as this child’s PIER. (See adorable Danna’s Before & After photos on the left.)
In addition, there are fewer surgeries, less pain, and it can be performed as early as 3 years of age. PIER is also the treatment of choice for patients who have unsatisfactory results after previous attempts at ear reconstruction or ear loss due to trauma. A comparison of these two techniques can be viewed HERE.
Please know that there is no single or “right” answer for how to treat Microtia. Families must decide what is best for their own child. Some families choose not to do anything at all. My advice is that if you are going to go forward with surgery, which is incredibly technically difficult, I would strongly encourage you to go with a surgeon who has dedicated their practice to Microtia Ear Reconstruction. Do your homework! Ask for Before & After photos from every angle (front, side, ¾ view) and a list of former patients to talk to about their surgical experience.
A comprehensive comparison of PIER versus Rib Cartilage ear reconstruction techniques and bone anchored hearing devices will also be presented at our upcoming Earicles conference in New York City on December 5th. For more information, please click on NYMAC.
If you would like to learn more about Microtia Ear Surgery using the PIER technique, please fill out our online form at www.microtiaearsurgery.com/contact-us