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Ear reconstruction is a surgical procedure to rebuild a damaged ear caused by trauma, accident or cancer surgery, as well as misshapen or underdeveloped ear due to a disorder present at birth (congenital). There are several types of ear reconstruction, including microtia repair (creating an ear for people with an inborn condition where their outer ears are malformed, small, or absent), otoplasty (to make the earless prominent), and ear defect repair (to restore the form and function of the outer ear after trauma, accident, or cancer surgery).
All types of ear reconstruction can be performed under local or general anesthetic. The first stage is creating the ear, your surgeon may use your own tissue, such as cartilage or skin to reconstruct the ear or use a prosthetic. Then, the next stage is putting the ear into position, so that it appears and looks just like a normal ear would.
Most people can leave the hospital on the same day as the procedure. However, adults with complex cases and children need to stay in the hospital overnight. After you are discharged, you should aim to stay in Thailand for 5 to 7 days for follow-up checkups and removal of stitches.
You should plan to return to work within a week if your job is not physically demanding. The total recovery time can vary from two to six weeks. Ask your doctor when you can resume your daily activities, such as exercises and heavy lifting.
During your recovery period, you need to avoid sleeping on your side and wear a loose headband that covers your ears at night to keep pressure off your ears. Wear button-down shirts or shirts with loose-fitting collars so you do not have to pull anything up over your head.
Ear reconstruction has a high success rate of more than 90% and most patients said the result was excellent. Although very rare, there are side effects and risks to be aware of, including infection, scarring, and blood clots. Some people may not be satisfied with the result because the ear placement is asymmetrical or overcorrected, in this case, consult with your surgeon about the possibility of revision surgery.
Although ear reconstruction is the best option for ear deformity, those who are not able to undergo this procedure can opt for an alternative which is prosthetic ears, which involves inserting titanium pins into the skull to clip the prosthetic ears.
Before an ear reconstruction surgery, you may have a birth defect that made your ear malformed or absent, your ears may stick out too far from too much, or too large in proportion to your head. After an ear reconstruction surgery, you will notice a change in the appearance of your ears immediately. The changes are permanent and natural.
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