Versatility of Retroauricular Mastoid Donor Site: A Convenient Valuable Warehouse of Various Free Graft Tissues in Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery

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Soft-tissue deficiency is a critical issue in facial cosmetic and reconstructive surgery. Harvesting autografts from other anatomical sites has been a common practice in overcoming soft-tissue insufficiency for many years. However, donor-site complications and visible scars are of important concerns. Therefore, we would like to introduce an alternative donor site of free-tissue grafts and its inherent advantages: the retroauricular mastoid area located along the mastoid hair line. From August 1991 to June 2011, we performed facial reconstructive surgeries for cosmetic correction of disfigurements from both congenital and complications of previous cosmetic procedures on a total of 213 patients. These patients had undergone either 1 or more facial cosmetic surgeries in the past. In this study, our primary goal focused on revising facial asymmetries or defects from previous surgical scars, tissue contraction, undercorrection, or underdevelopment. For autograft harvesting, we incised an elliptical shape along the retroauricular hairline. We then harvested sufficient amount of skin, dermal fat, fascia, or a piece of the mastoid bone if needed. After harvesting, we closed the incisional area and covered it with a compressive dressing. In evaluation of our results, we compared the preoperative photographs with postoperative and constructed a survey on patient satisfaction. Overall, the patients in this study were greatly satisfied with their surgical results. No major complications were reported. As a result of our long-term study, we believe that the retroauricular mastoid area has been shown to be an indispensable donor site for a variety of autograft tissues in terms of safety, convenience, and versatility of its unique structural composition consisting of skin, dermal fat, fascia, and bone.

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