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July 14, 1975

Medical News

JAMA. 1975;233(2):121-128. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03260020007001

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Plastic mold may help patients grow new auricles to replace lost ears  Reconstructing a human external ear has been called one of the most difficult challenges in plastic surgery. The delicate modeling of its cartilaginous interior and its thin skin are nearly impossible to duplicate in flesh and blood, and usually patients who have lost an ear to accident or disease must settle for a prosthesis or an unattractive, unrealistic flap of scarred gristle.Patients are more satisfied with even the most unsuccessful reconstruction than with a prosthesis, according to a German surgeon who has studied the problem for several years. The reason, he says, is that patients who wear an artificial ear are tormented by the fear that it will fall off.Felix Nagel, MD, told a recent symposium on plastic and reconstructive surgery that he has reason to believe he will soon succeed in producing a realistic