What is Auricular Cartilage?

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what is Auricular Cartilage?

What is Auricular Cartilage?

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The ear is a complex structure. What we see on the outer part is mostly the skin and the cartilage, known as auricular cartilage. The outermost portion of the ear is responsible for its shape and makes it flexible. In addition, it is elastic and responsible for the ear’s aesthetics. How the ear cartilage is shaped and the amount of cartilage present gives your ears a natural look.
The cartilage portion, the pinna, or the ear, is the first part of the body to come into contact with external sound waves. From there, the waves pass into the ear canal and onto the eardrum, which is a thin membrane. They then move to the middle year, where they make the ossicle’s bones vibrate. The vibrations then pass to the inner ear, which is a liquid-filled area that converts the sound waves to the signal sent to the brain.
The Auricular cartilage or the ear cartilage does other essential functions, too, such as

It forms and keeps the shape of the ear. The cartilage is responsible for the unique shape and structure of the ear and protects the sensitive ear canal. In addition, it allows the ear bones to develop and shape.

Provides support: the auricular cartilage is flexible and robust, allowing the ear to move and change position while retaining its shape.
• Transmitting sound: the cartilage facilitates the movement of sound waves from the other ear to the inner ear, thus playing an essential role in maintaining your ability to hear correctly.

Protects the ear: By being strong and flexible, the ear cartilage helps prevent damage to the ear because of trauma or injury to the structure.

Helps with temperature regulation: cartilage in the ear does the vital function of aiming temperature balance in the ear. It provides the area to dissipate the heat from the body and prevents the ear from becoming too hot or cold.

Being the other part of the year, it is most prone to injury. It protects the internal. The ear cartilage is mostly avascular and gets blood supply from the perichondrium. In chronic cases, the perichondrium sticks to the cartilage. In appearance, the cartilage is semi-opaque and has no nerve cells or blood vessels. It is a type of permanent cartilage. When you pierce the ear cartilage, it can sometimes cause infection and damage to the tissue layer. Such damage to the ear cartilage can even cause permanent disfigurement. It also causes damage like keloid scars and cauliflower ears (very common in wrestling).

Uses of auricular cartilage

The auricular cartilage is essential to the human body. Not only it helps the auditory functions work well, but it is also used in many medical, cosmetic, and plastic surgery applications, such as

1. Ear reconstruction: The auricular cartilage is most famous for ear reconstruction in cosmetic and plastic surgery. External ear reconstruction is needed for various reasons, such as congenital disabilities, trauma, sports injury or accident, or a disease. The ear cartilage is the preferred harvest because it has meager chances of infection and adapts to the body well. Expert reconstructive surgeons can mold it to restore the ear’s shape, structure, and function to its original form.

• Full ear reconstruction in cases of missing or very damaged ears. The plastic surgeon creates a framework of cartilage to give the ear a shape and covers it with skin grafts and tissues.

• Partial ear reconstruction. The cartilage is harvested from other parts of the body, like the rib or the septum, and used it make the missing part of the ear.

• Earlobe reconstruction: In people, especially in females, who lose their ear lobe because of over-piercing or the earlobe is damaged by injury or surgery. A small part of the ear cartilage is used to create a new ear lobe to match the rest of the ear.

• Revisions ear reconstruction to correct complications from the previous ear surgeries.

• Microtia repair to correct the ear deformity because of an underdeveloped or absent ear. This can be done at an early age of 4 years.

The aim of using auricular cartilage in ear reconstruction is to get the most natural-looking functional ear without damaging the functionality of the ear. The cartilage has to be shaped so that sound transmission and ear protection are not hampered. Natural auricular cartilage is one of the essential tools in performing successful ear construction plastic surgery.

2. Rhinoplasty and Revision Rhinoplasty: The second most popular auricular cartilage use is rhinoplasty surgery. For this, the graft is harvested from the anterior or posterior portions of the ear. Since the cartilage has a natural curvature, it adapts easily to the skin of the nose. Therefore, this cartilage graft is ideal for using alar and nasal tip reconstruction in rhinoplasty cases.

Another advantage of auricular cartilage is that its curvature makes it more resistant to deformation and defragmentation. Performing a rhinoplasty using ear cartilage can also create a natural nose bridge and bring more harmony to the face. Its curve is similar to the tip of the nose; hence, it is not visible like the artificial cartilage material. Artificial cartilage can also use the nose tip to become shiny, red, and punctured over time. The cartilage is cut, shaped, and placed inside the nose; hence, the nose shows no signs of surgery or scarring.

Where is the auricular cartilage taken from?

To determine the suitable site to be the donor, the surgeon will check the shape and size of the ear. If one ear is bigger than the other, that site automatically becomes the preferred donor site. If the patient chooses to sleep on a particular side, then the surgeon will harvest the cartilage piece from the ear on the opposite side. The procedure is done under local or general anesthesia.
• The surgeon makes an incision behind the ear, mainly on the crease where the ear meets the portion of the head, so that the scar does not show.
• The surgeon then carefully removes the skin and tissues to make the auricular cartilage more visible for harvesting.
• The plastic surgeon then removes the piece of the cartilage necessary for the graft.
• The incisions are then closed, and a dressing is applied to the incision. There is no deformity in the ears post-harvesting.
Auricular cartilage harvesting is an entirely safe procedure and does not damage the function of the ear or the receptor site.

Auricular cartilage harvesting cost

The cost of auricular cartilage harvesting depends on many factors, including the location of the procedure, the surgeon’s fees, and the requirement of the cartilage. The cost is also influenced by the approach the cartilage is taken for. For example, rhinoplasty cost is different than revision rhinoplasty cost, and in the same way, the ear reconstruction cost using ear cartilage varies with the extent of surgery.
If you have an underlying medical condition, it may affect the price of cartilage harvesting. The cost may or may not be covered by insurance, depending on your plan and the specific situation for which you seek plastic or cosmetic surgery treatment.

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About Dr. Debraj Shome

Dr. Debraj Shome- Facial Plastic Surgeon in Mumbai, India

Dr. Debraj Shome – Founder, The Esthetic Clinics, is a top facial plastic surgeon. Dr. Shome is currently a Consultant at the best Mumbai hospitals like Saifee Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital, Nanavati Hospital & Apollo Spectra Hospital in Mumbai, India. He has 40+ research papers in the best international journals, numerous presentations at conferences & many awards such as “Best Plastic Surgeon in Mumbai”, “Best Plastic Surgeon in India”, Best Cosmetic Surgeon in India”, “Best Cosmetic Surgeon in Mumbai”, “Breakthrough Innovator in Facial Plastic Surgery” etc. A celebrity plastic surgeon, Dr. Shome believes plastic, reconstructive & cosmetic face surgery can allow you to lead a more fulfilled life….Read more

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