Guest Post: Microtia “Little Ear” Reconstruction Surgery – Key Concepts

DeLuca Plastic Surgery in Albany, New York welcomes guest blogger Dr. Mark Mitchell Jones, a plastic surgeon in Atlanta Georgia who specializes in microtia “ear” reconstruction.

Microtia is a common birth defect where the middle and outer ear do not develop normally. The literal meaning of Microtia, comes from the Latin words micro and otia, or “little ear”. In 90% of all cases only one ear is affected.

The standard rib graft technique is the preferred method of Microtia correction. This technique involves surgery in several stages and usually takes 9-12 months to complete. There are several advantages to this technique. The reconstructed ear is created out of living tissue and therefore of a natural skin tone. It reacts to heat and cold and will grow with the child. It is also more durable than a plastic ear and will not need to be replaced.

Over the course of my career I have personally pioneered several innovative techniques to use along with the standard rib graft reconstruction, including the Integrated Cartilage Graft, Wrap Around Earlobe, Juxtaposition Ear and Bespoke Ear. The differences between each are as follows:

  • Integrated Cartilage Graft (ICG): This procedure involves a precise carving technique that allows us to integrate the two pieces of cartilage forming the ear and achieve optimal thickness and strength. The result is a cartilage graft that is thin enough to mimic the natural ear but strong enough to resist potential deformities from healing forces.
  • Microtia Surgery Specialist, Dr. Mark Jones

    Microtia specialist, Dr. Mark Jones

  • Wrap Around Earlobe (WAE): In this procedure, we go two steps further than the standard second stage of ear reconstruction to create a naturally hanging earlobe. In the vestigial remnant used to create the earlobe, I create a pocket in addition to rotating. I then elevate and insert the cartilage graft tip into the pocket, allowing the tissue to integrate with the new earlobe.
  • Juxtaposition Ear (JE): By saving the good parts of the underdeveloped ear, I am able to juxtapose the rib cartilage ear carving and smoothly combine the old and new. Less cutting and dissection is required when this technique is utilized.
  • Bespoke Ear (BE): “Bespoke” is an old English tailors’ term which means “made to special order.” Unlike many microtia surgeons, I take care to spend extra time in and out of surgery to custom-tailor the best ears possible for all of my patients.

Microtia reconstruction surgery is a very specialized area of plastic surgery that requires intricate surgical skills and a high level of experience. After 20 years of surgical experience, I’ve learned that a gentle caring spirit relieves children of suffering from this birth defect and allows them to have a normal appearance.

With double board certification by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat; ENT), I am uniquely skilled in enhancing both the aesthetic features and the natural functionality of the body.

To contact Dr. Jones for more information, please call his office at 404-355-3566 or visit his website at