For patients who do not qualify for reconstructive ear surgeries such as rib cartilage ear reconstruction or MEDPOR® ear reconstruction, we can fashion customized silicone prosthetic ears to restore facial symmetry. While these prosthetics cannot improve hearing, they do offer realistic, aesthetically pleasing results for adults or adolescents.
Dr. Charles Thorne is Chairman of the Department of Plastic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and the editor-in-chief of Grabb and Smith’s Plastic Surgery, the premier textbook in plastic surgery, and has designed prosthetics for many patients at his Lenox Hill, Manhattan, practice. You can view previous patient’s results in our gallery.
What Are Silicone Prosthetic Ears?
Silicone ears are prosthetics used to create symmetry with your healthy ear. An experienced anaplastologist can create the prosthetic from a mold of your ear so that they match in shape, size, and color.
When selecting your silicone prosthetic ear, there are two types to choose from. The first type attaches to the skin temporarily with a safe and biocompatible adhesive. The second type is known as an osseointegrated prosthesis and attaches to the head using titanium implant posts that are inserted into the bone around the ear. Although both types are removable, the osseointegrated prosthetic ear provides more durability and security.
Prosthetic silicone ears are usually recommended to patients who are unable to qualify for reconstructive surgeries
Regardless of which kind you opt for, you should remove your prosthetic ear nightly before sleeping or before any athletic activities. With attentive care, a prosthetic can last one to three years.
Who is a Good Candidate?
Prosthetic silicone ears are usually recommended to patients who are unable to qualify for reconstructive surgeries or to older patients whose health could be at risk with cosmetic ear surgery. Because the attachments are temporary, prosthetics are not ideal for children, as they could fall off during play. The ideal candidates are elderly patients or patients whose ears are so scarred from trauma or previous attempts at ear reconstruction that no further reconstruction is possible.
Risks and Benefits of Silicone Prosthetic Ears
Since silicone prosthetic ears do not require surgery, they are often a beneficial option for patients who are looking for immediate results or who do not qualify for reconstructive surgery due to health reasons.
However, patients should be aware that silicone prosthetic ears are fashioned from realistic looking materials, rather than using your own tissue. As a result, the outcome is not as lifelike as that of MEDPOR® or rib cartilage ear reconstruction. It can also be difficult to conceal the area where the ear and head meet and may leave some patients dissatisfied or frustrated with the appearance of their ear. While initial treatment is faster and more affordable than surgical procedures, the silicone prosthetic must be replaced periodically and costs can begin to add up. Both the pros and cons of this option should be considered carefully when deciding on treatment.
Meet with Dr. Thorne Today
If you or your teenage child suffer from microtia and have been unable to qualify for traditional ear reconstructive procedures, you may find success with a customized silicone prosthetic ear. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Thorne and discuss your options, please contact our office today online or give us a call at 212-794-0044.