1) What is the condition of absent external ear called and is it very common?
A: This condition is called Microtia. It is seen in about 1 out of every 8000 births in Asia.
2) What is the age at which this surgery can be performed?
A: Autologous ear reconstruction ie. forming a new ear from one’s own rib cartilage, can be performed any time after the age of 8. At this age the calibre of the cartilage is adequately developed to give it shape like an ear.
3) This surgery is done in how many stages?
A: This surgery is performed in two stages. In the first stage the entire ear is reconstructed. The sulcus behind the ear is created after 6 months.
4) How long does the patient need to be admitted in hospital?
A: For the first stage, around 3 days and for the second stage 2-3 days again.
5) What are the advantages of this method over putting an artificial ear prosthesis or implant?
A: The greatest advantage is that this is your own tissue. So there is no chance of it getting rejected by the body. Also it has very less chance of infection as compared to a polyethylene implant. Plus when reconstructed using the latest suture technique as I do, the results last a life-time. There are very few Plastic surgeons in the world who are specially trained in this complex art. In India, unfortunately, there are none. So patient awareness needs to be created.