A New Classification of Helix Fabrication Methods with Autogenous Costal Cartilage in Microtia Reconstruction

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Abstract

Background:

Recreating the complex architecture of the auricle poses one of the most demanding challenges for the plastic surgeon. The fabrication of the prominent helix is crucial to the final contour of the constructed ear. The success of helix carving depends greatly on the complicated characteristics of the cartilage used, which is commonly the eighth costal cartilage. The authors elaborate on the relevant details for helix sculpting based on different qualities of cartilage.

Methods:

A series of 415 microtia patients underwent autogenous costal cartilage auricular reconstruction between 2012 and 2015. Because the cartilage used for helix reconstruction is always imperfect or insufficient for the fabrication of anatomical structures, they have devised perfect helix duplication by using individualized eighth rib cartilage with different cartilage lengths, widths, and flexibilities. Four possible scenarios in helix fabrication have been elaborated, and the corresponding methods were introduced.

Results:

Selective methods for different scenarios in helix fabrication have been shown to produce favorable results. The results reveal that a harmonious helix was achieved and provide a cohesive framework for the integrity of a reconstructed ear.

Conclusions:

A new classification of helix fabrication methods with autogenous costal cartilage is elaborated, and a favorable framework with harmonious proportions is achieved by precise carving using corresponding measures for different cartilage characteristics. This approach enhances helix aesthetics and helps attain a satisfactory contour of the auricle.

CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Therapeutic, IV.

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