Descriptive Analysis of the Arterial Supply to the Auricle in Patients with Unilateral Microtia

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Microtia is a congenital auricular deformity that occurs in 1:5,000–10,000 births. It can cause severe impairment to the patient’s self-esteem and problems regarding social integration. Multiple measures have been described in attempt to better operative outcomes of these patients. We used computed tomography (CT) angiography to analyze the vascular pattern of the auricular region before surgery.


Fourteen patients with unilateral microtia were included. All underwent CT angiogram plus tridimensional reconstruction. Both healthy and microtic auricles were analyzed descriptively in terms of main arterial supply, pattern, diameter of subbranches, and angulation. The sample was divided in 2 age groups for better understanding of the data.


Blood supply to the auricle was found to depend on 2 main vessels: temporal superficial artery (TSA) and its subbranches (superior, middle, and lower branch) and posterior auricular (PA) artery. In the microtic group, TSA was the dominant artery in 13 of 14 cases (92%). Superior, middle, and inferior branches were present in 4, 3, and 0 cases, respectively. Three of the microtic auricles presented supply from PA artery, from which in 1 case, it represented the only supply to the region.


There is wide variability in the blood supply of both healthy and microtic auricles; however, we were able to identify some tendencies in our sample. Further research is needed to prove the benefit of a preoperative imaging study in these patients. Still, in our experience, we found it useful as a complement for surgical planning.

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