How Many Years Are We from Being Able to Engineer Autologous Ear Cartilage?

Several years ago, I harvested the conchal cartilage of my left ear as graft material for a rhinoplasty. Unfortunately, I hate how the harvested ear now looks and feels. The ears have flattened, there is visible filling of the empty conchal bowl area with scar tissue, and the ear just feels really fragile and easily irritated. I have heard that cartilage engineering may be available within 5-7 years. Is this a reasonable time frame? And how difficult would this future surgery be? Thanks!

Doctor Answers 3

Engineered autologous ear cartilage

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Too many unknowns here to give you an answer but the way medicine is going what we think is impossible today will be here in a short period of time.

Engineering ear cartilage and flattened ears from rhinoplasty harvest

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They are starting to do that now. But you can get some improvement for your current situation by using different techniques

Philip Young, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon

Growing Your Own Ear Cartilage

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While engineering cartilage can be successfully done in laboratory animals, there are numerous regulatory issues that wil keep it from becoming available for clinical use for years to come. No one can predict how long that will be but a realistic estimate, in my opinion, is 10 to 20 years. A more practical approach currently is to take a small piece of free floating rib # 9 through a one inch incision and graft the old ear harvest sites.

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