I get a lot of queries from anxious parents about their apprehension in letting me use the rib cartilage of their child for reconstructing his or her ear. ” is their no other alternative?”, ” can we not use xyz implant”, ” we are worried about our child’s future if the rib cartilage is removed” etc , etc. Let me answer these queries one by one.
No, there is no alternative to one’s own rib cartilage when it comes to ear reconstruction. There is just nothing similar in our body. So till the time tissue engineering progresses sufficiently to allow us to get cartilage from the lab, there is no other alternative. The implants available today have a very high rate of exposure, infection and rejection. Plus the temporoparietal fascia gets used up so there is nothing to fall back on. So one’s own rib cartilage remains the best option for ear reconstruction.