The History of Alloplastic Ear Reconstruction for Microtia

Steven D. Kozusko, Petros Konofaos, Robert Doyle Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Microtia reconstruction is a unique and challenging field in reconstructive surgery. In the early 20th century, many different alloplastic materials have been used in an attempt to recreate the fibrocartilaginous framework of the native ear. These materials include celluloid, tantalum wire cage, nylon mesh, polyethylene, and acrylic. The first standard for alloplastic microtia reconstruction, silicone, is one fraught with complications and failures. This alloplastic material is walled off by the host and prone to scar tissue formation and extrusion. Alloplastic microtia reconstruction largely shifts to porous polyethylene, where the results are markedly superior. This is attributed to the porous structure of porous polyethylene, which allows tissue ingrowth. Moreover, the use of the temporoparietal fascia flap for total coverage of the implant has impressively lowered the risk of implant extrusion. However, there is paucity in the literature regarding the evolution of alloplastic microtia reconstruction, especially characterizing historical mistakes, significant technique evolutions, and drawbacks/advantages of materials. This review serves as a guide both to avoid repeating mistakes and to improve outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-92
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • alloplastic reconstruction
  • microtia
  • porous polyethylene
  • silicone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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