Reconstruction of the microtic auricle is a difficult process requiring considerable experience and dedication to detail. It is a multistage proposition requiring the talents of both the reconstructive surgeon and the otologic surgeon. Reconstruction of the external ear usually precedes the reconstruction of the middle ear. Often, a template is used by the reconstructive surgeon to aid in this complicated process. Traditionally, templates used by the reconstructive surgeon have been 2 dimensional (usually x-ray paper) and made from the opposite normal ear or another normal ear in cases of bilateral microtia. Use of a 2-dimensional model only provides a rough estimate of the cartilage framework needed. Considerable experience is therefore needed to get this cartilage framework "just right." We have developed a number of 3-dimensional synthetic templates to aid in the creation of an accurate cartilage framework implant. These templates serve as a more accurate guide in the complex cartilage carving and assembly process. The use of 3-dimensional templates has improved our technical reconstructive results in a small number of patients. We present these results and propose future application of these ideas.
Timothy F. Kelley, Rex Moulton-Barrett, F. Markoe Dugan, Roger L. Crumley. The Use of 3-Dimensional Models in Auricular Reconstruction. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1998;124(3):335–338. doi:10.1001/archotol.124.3.335