Either for congenital reasons or following injury it may be necessary to rebuild part or almost all of the external ear. Ears are reconstructed for aesthetic reasons rather than to improve hearing in any way. Children need to be of adequate size and stature to have this carried out and are usually aged eight or more.
Cartilage can be taken from the rib area to rebuild what is missing and is then covered with soft tissue from the scalp. Two stages of surgery may be needed spaced about six months apart. The procedure may take several hours to do.
Other types of reconstruction are possible also.
A one to two night stay in hospital is necessary following the procedure and more discomfort is noted in the rib than in the ear area. The head is bandaged to protect the ear for about two weeks.