Corrective Surgery for Ear After Infection?

My brother had a severe infection from a spider bite on his ear. It was drained in the ER, and he was told to get to go to a plastic surgeon to repair the cauliflower look of his ear. What can he do?

Doctor Answers 4

Cauliflower ear can be reconstructed through techniques done with an otoplasty procedure

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Cauliflower ear can be reconstructed through techniques done with an otoplasty. procedure. This is a difficult procedure to do. It will take sculpting with different instruments using a number of techniques that are often used in otoplasty. The results are usually more on the conservative side. In my experience, the ear can be made to look a lot better, but getting the ear to look totally like it was before is very hard.

Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

Reconstructive ear surgery can improve the appearance of ear after trauma

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There are a variety of techniques which can be used to improve the appearance of an ear after scarring from a variety of sources. The infection must have been cured before any reconstructive procedures should be undertaken. The surgeon must evaluate the skin and soft tissue of the ear.

There are a variety of methods to improve the scars or changes to the skin which may have occurred. The cartilage may also have changed shape and be in need of remodelling. My best advice is to consult with a surgeon with experience in ear reconstructive surgery to perform a complete physical exam and review all the options you have. Best of luck!

Robert Mounsey, MD
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon

Corrective ear surgery after infection

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Dear V,

Several comments:

1. Spider bite is the most OVER diagnosed insect bite in the ER. Usually THE spider often accused of these incidents is the FEMALE brown recluse. The problem is that most such spiders are shy and hide in elevator shafts, shoes/boots and everything shady so it would be hard to explain a bite to the ear by a recluse UNLESS your brother worked as a plumber / elevator repairman etc.

2. I TOTALLY agree that reconstruction , if it is needed, should be postponed until everything subsided and the extent of the injury and deformity is clear. Doing it earlier makes no sense.

3. "he was told to get to go to a plastic surgeon to repair the cauliflower look of his ear" - Why does your brother have a cauliflower ear? Was he injured before (boxing etc)? One does NOT get a cauliflower ear as result of an acute infection. It is usually seen from a blow to the ear cartilage when the blood is not allowed to drain out and destroys the underlying cartilage.

I hope this was helpful.

Good Luck.

Dr. P. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Needs to wait until infection clears before ear reconstruction

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Dear Villareal,

I am sorry to hear about your brother's injury. He needs to wait until the infection is over and the necessary time for healing to occur has passed. This can be over six months. A plastic surgeon can then look at the ear to see what needs to be done to reconstruct it to look more like the opposite ear. The actual procedures used will depend on how the ear looks, whether cartilage is missing, and where the scar in the skin is located.

Good luck.

Dr. Shah

Manish H. Shah, MD, FACS
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

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