Estimation of Eighth Costal Cartilage in Surgical Timing of Microtia Reconstruction

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There is controversy over the optimal timing of microtia reconstruction. The eighth costal cartilage, which is used to shape the helix framework, can be one of the key factors determining surgical timing of microtia reconstruction. Nevertheless, it is difficult to predict the length of the eighth costal cartilage preoperatively. The aim of the present study was to suggest clinical predictors of the length of the eighth cartilage by assessing the correlation between the actual length of the eighth cartilage and preoperative measurements of the cartilage length using three-dimensional rib-cage computed tomography (3D rib-cage CT). A retrospective analysis was performed on a total of 97 patients who underwent preoperative 3D rib-cage CT and auricular reconstruction using a rib cartilage graft between January 2010 and February 2013. The length of the eighth costal cartilage on 3D rib-cage CT was measured preoperatively, and the length of the harvested eighth rib cartilage was measured intraoperatively. We analyzed the association between the preoperative and intraoperative measured length of the eighth rib, with patient age, height, weight, and body mass index. Preoperative measurement using 3D rib-cage CT showed a high correlation with actual cartilage length. Height and weight correlated more strongly with length than with age. This study describes the usefulness of 3D rib-cage CT for preoperative measurement of the length of the eighth costal cartilage. The measurement of the eighth rib cartilage on 3D rib-cage CT could be a useful aid for reconstructive surgeons in planning microtia reconstruction.

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