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Earlobe shape plays an important role in the overall esthetics of the face. Although they are hardly visible from the front, people with abnormal shaped or sized ears draw unwanted attention making them self-conscious. Subtle differences in ear shape can create a dramatic effect on the overall beauty and composition of the entire face.

Types of Ear Surgery

The conditions which require ear surgery can be categorized into either congenital malformation or injury. One in 3,000 people are born with congenital ear malformation. Surgical methodologies vary based on the current shape or condition of ears and there are differences in procedure and recovery time.



Microtia is a congenital deformity which occurs in 1 in 8,000 births. Patients with microtia usually have only external ears without ear canal and half of the hearing sense of normal people.
There is no known cause of microtia. A child whose parents or siblings have microtia has 1~2 % chance of developing microtia. About 95% of patients have unilateral microtia while the other 5% have bilateral microtia. The appearance of ear shape is very different from normal ones, which gives negative impression to others.
Often times a child셲 rib cartilage is not firm enough to use for ear reconstruction surgery. There is also a possibility of the cartilage getting absorbed into the skin and losing the shape made during the surgery. Additionally, the part of chest where rib cartilage was taken from can develop into an abnormal shape. Therefore, the Rib Cartilage Ear Reconstruction is recommended after 12 years of age.
The surgery usually requires three stages of reconstruction,
  1. Stage 1: Surgeons extract cartilage from the rib of the child and use it to sculpt the framework for the reconstructed ear. (5 hour surgery requiring general anesthesia)
  2. Stage 2: Surgeons form the earlobe and elevate the ear using a skin graft. (3~4 hour surgery requiring general anesthesia)
  3. Stage 3: Surgeons form the tragus using a skin / cartilage graft and form the conchal area using a skin graft. (3 hour surgery requiring sedation anesthesia and local anesthesia)
Overview of Microtia surgery
Overview of Microtia surgery
Optimal age for surgery: ages 12 and up
Length of surgery: Stage 1 (5 hours), Stage 2 (3-4 hours), Stage 3 (3 hours)
Stitch removal: 7 days after surgery
Anesthesia: General anesthesia

Precaution after surgery

  1. 1.Recovery
    Usually it requires an ambulatory treatment without hospitalization. While the recovery time can vary depending upon the severity of the condition and the type of the surgery, it is usually possible to return to daily life such as having meals and washing face. Please be cautious not to get water in the ear when taking a shower. Stitches will be removed a week after surgery. Try not to lie on your side during the recovery period.
  2. 2.Recovery process
    Just like other plastic surgeries, you will experience paresthesia on treated area for a while after ear surgeries. The senses will be recovered as swelling and bruising fade away. Permanent sensory loss is very rare. Ears can seem a little bigger due to swelling after surgery but will return to their normal size over few weeks of recovery period. Please avoid going to sauna or wearing hats which can press down ears before they are fully recovered.