Treating Microtia with MEDPOR Ear Reconstruction
There are a few options you have when considering ear reconstruction surgery for you or your child, including the MEDPOR auricular framework. This treatment option is recommended for select patients with microtia and other types of external ear damage. At our practice in Boise, ID, Russell H. Griffiths, MD can discuss the effectiveness of using MEDPOR™ ear reconstruction for your child's specific ear condition.
How does Dr. Griffiths use MEDPOR with his One-Stage technique?
For carefully selected patients, Dr. Griffiths recommends the MEDPOR framework. The framework comes in two separate pieces, a base section and the helical rim. The MEDPOR auricular prosthesis has been around since the mid 1990s. It is made of compressed polyethylene beads and comes in two main pieces. During the operation the two pieces must be artistically assembled to match the predicted size and shape of the contralateral ear. The soft tissue coverage portions of the one-stage microtia reconstruction technique is the same as used for the rib graft framework.
“We are one of only two recognized teams world-wide that is able to reconstruct the entire external ear and ear canal at the same time using MEDPOR.”
Advantages of using a MEDPOR framework include lower operating room time, avoidance of chest incision, ease of use, and the ability to be used by less experienced surgeons who do not have the artistic ability to carve ear framework out of cartilage. MEDPOR is also much stiffer than chest cartilage and withstands the contractile forces during the healing phase quite well. Natural appearing ears can be produced by experienced surgeons using MEDPOR.
The primary disadvantage of the MEDPOR implant is that it is a foreign material and it will not grow. If at any time during the lifetime of that patient there is a laceration on the ear exposing the framework, then there is a great risk for having the underlying framework becoming infected requiring complete removal. The plastic framework can also break causing a tear in the skin with subsequent infection and ear loss.
Secondary reconstructive operations can be very costly with limited options given the primary skin grafts, skin flaps, and fascia flaps were used with the first ear reconstruction. Another disadvantage of the MEDPOR polyethylene plastic framework is that it comes in one size and shape. If you carefully study ears you will notice a significant variation in size, shape, and projection. Although the size and shape can be slightly adjusted by the surgeon as he or she assembles the two separate pieces, surgeons often have to perform an otoplasty on the child’s normal ear to try to match the appearance of the MEDPOR ear.
When is canalplasty performed when MEDPOR is used for a one-stage microtia reconstruction?
The canalplasty is performed by our specially trained otologist at the same time that Dr. Griffiths creates the external ear. We are one of only two recognized teams world-wide that is able to reconstruct the entire external ear and ear canal at the same time using MEDPOR. One of the key advantages that we have over the other team is that both Dr. Griffiths and our Otologist have offices that are only a few miles apart. The other team’s surgeons have practices that are 350 miles apart, making it a far greater ordeal to get them together. Patients can easily be seen by both of our surgeons in the same hour.
Contact Us Today
Dr. Griffiths has helped many parents decide on whether MEDPOR is the best course of treatment for their child. Please give us a call at (208)433-1736, or send us a message online to schedule a consultation and discuss your child's specific case.
“My son is experiencing a happiness and a confidence that I have never seen before. You have taken away a big, big hurt...Thank you for making my son happy.” Michael, Father of a Former Patient