Our partial ear patient flew from New York to get a prosthesis that improves the symmetry of his partially-amputated ear. This type of upper ear prosthesis is very tricky to design and mold, because we have to work over and around anatomy that is scarred and mis-shaped from the accident. It is a challenge that we love as medical artists. We restore the natural look by creating the illusion of depth; of natural recessed areas in the ear, and we plan prosthesis edges that either fall hidden in the shadows of recesses or that might be seen as normal wrinkles or skin folds. Even though we have advanced methods to scan and digitally manipulate and plan our project, the devil is always in the final details that we love to refine and never hurry.
Sometimes patients have part of their ear surgically removed due to skin cancer. This veteran had the lower half of his ear removed and was referred by the veteran’s hospital for a lower-half partial ear prosthesis. Anaplastologist James Hogue, MA sculpted fine detail in his preferred wax medium a beautiful rendition of the missing anatomy. He finished the prosthesis with exquisite color nuances, and very little adhesive was necessary for the patient to successfully attach his prosthesis.
Skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma, Mohs surgeon, micrographic dermatological surgery
Our patient came from Atlanta, GA for the aesthetic restoration of his left ear. He lost the upper portions of his helix and antihelix cartilage and overlying skin following skin cancer removal. Sometimes people wear their hair long to cover problems like this. Otherwise, these ear differences make people feel conspicuous when they are in situation like standing in lines at the grocery or theatre. That’s why we try so hard to match color and instill natural details that make the restoration undetectable even up close.
So many people born with under formed ears try to have them surgically restored, and they almost never are happy with the result. They may try repeat surgeries over many years, only to finally decide, “I want an ear that looks like my other ear, so I feel balanced and more normal – so people don’t stare anymore.” When they finally decide to remove all that bulky rib cartilage tissue (or Medpor implant) it’s also an appropriate time to have osseointegrated implant fixtures placed in the bone. These fixtures become anchors to solidly secure the prosthesis using special clips and magnetic attachments. It’s a wonderful technology based on decades of proven science and predictable outcomes. How do we know this? Because our practice has been involved since 1984 as a leading innovator and provider in implant-retained craniofacial prosthetics. It’s a low-risk decision a lifelong liberation.