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In cases where rib cartilage ear reconstruction is not a suitable option, MEDPOR® ear reconstruction can provide realistic results for children and adults diagnosed with microtia. At his Lenox Hill, Manhattan, practice, Dr. Charles Thorne can restore facial symmetry with a treatment plan tailored to the specific needs of you or your child. As editor-in-chief of the premier plastic surgery textbook Grabb and Smitth's Plastic Surgery, Dr. Thorne has extensive experience in reconstructing ears with MEDPOR.

Unattached MEDPOR ears

Made of porous polyethylene, MEDPOR ears partially integrate with your natural tissue over time.

What Is MEDPOR® Ear Reconstruction?

Introduced by Dr. John Reinisch in 1991, the MEDPOR® technique (microporous high-density polyethylene implant) has been successfully performed over a quarter of a million times. Because the MEDPOR framework is porous, the surrounding tissues and blood vessels will partially grow into the framework so that it almost becomes a natural part of the body.

MEDPOR® ear reconstruction is suitable for patients of all ages, including patients as young as three years old.

During the procedure, Dr. Thorne will first construct a porous polyethylene framework made from biocompatible materials that matches the appearance and position of the other ear. Once this is complete, the patient is placed under general anesthesia and the newly fabricated ear stitched in placed. Tissue is harvested from under the patient’s scalp and carefully placed over the framework so that a skin graft can be placed on the outer surface.

Who Qualifies for MEDPOR?

MEDPOR ear reconstruction is suitable for patients of all ages, including children as young as three years old. While any person suffering from congenital microtia or who has undergone trauma to their ear can potentially qualify for this type of reconstruction, it is especially suited to patients who are unsatisfied with the results of their original operation.

However, patients must have either an intact superficial temporal artery or a patent occipital artery to ensure proper blood flow for a successful recovery. Dr. Thorne can assess you or your child's situation during a consultation to determine if MEDPOR is appropriate.

Meeting with Dr. Thorne

During your initial consultation with Dr. Thorne, he will take the time to examine the impaired ear and review your medical and surgical history to make sure you are a good candidate. It is vital that you be upfront and honest about any prior operations or medical conditions during this meeting. When certain information is withheld, it can either delay the procedure or cause complications. Based off of his assessment, Dr. Thorne can create a treatment plan and carefully walk you through the treatment timeline, answering any questions you may have.

Benefits and Drawbacks of the MEDPOR Technique

As with any procedure, there are both benefits and drawbacks to MEDPOR® ear reconstruction.


The potential benefits of Medpor are: 

  • Does not require harvesting rib cartilage
  • Safe for patients as young as three years old
  • Can be combined with ear canal reconstructions
  • Does not require an overnight stay in the hospital
  • Minimizes pain during recovery

As a result, it is often a reliable solution for many patients with microtia or ear trauma.


However, patients should be aware that MEDPOR is not always an ideal option because it:

  • Uses foreign material rather than your own tissue
  • Does not always feel natural
  • Has only been around for 26 years and the long-term results still unknown
  • Does not withstand trauma as well as the patient’s own cartilage

Dr. Thorne is dedicated to ensuring the best results possible for you or your child and will explain the benefits and drawbacks in detail during your consultation. He almost always recommends reconstruction with the patient’s own cartilage because he thinks it is safer.

Learn if MEDPOR is Right for You

MEDPOR is one of many potential options for treating microtia or repairing a damaged ear. If you are interested in learning more about MEDPOR® ear reconstruction and how it can benefit you, contact our office online or give us a call at 212-794-0044.

In The Media

Dr. Thorne is consistently highlighted in every publication profiling the Best Doctors in Manhattan or the Best Doctors in the entire United States. He has been featured in the New York Times multiple years running, as well as America's Top Doctors, and has hosted a radio show on plastic surgery alongside dermatologist Dr. Linda Franks.

  • New York Best Doctors 2019
  • New York Best Doctors 2017
  • New York Best Doctors 2014
  • New York Best Doctors 2008

  • New York Best Doctors 2005
  • Americas Top Doctors 2002
  • Castle Connolly 10th
  • Castle Connolly 6th