A technique of chondrocutaneous flap reconstruction of the ear that preserves the perforating branches of the posterior auricular artery is described. Preservation of the perforators offers improved safety in high-risk patients because it maintains the blood supply to the anterior surface of the ear. This perforator-preserving technique also emphasizes simplicity of flap design, concealment of scars, and preservation of ear shape. It is best suited for reconstructing defects of the scapha, antihelix, or triangular fossa up to approximately 2 cm in diameter. A variety of chondrocutaneous rotation flaps have been developed for reconstructing helical and nonhelical defects. These flaps have been designed on the basis of the size and location of the surgical defect. Although previously described techniques are usually reliable, extensive dissection and mobilization can injure perforators, leading to vascular compromise. When flap reconstruction is used in high-risk patients, it is necessary to protect the blood supply, and perforator-preserving flap reconstruction offers improved safety. The perforator-preserving technique was used in six consecutive high-risk patients during a 2-year period. Good results were obtained in all cases, including in patients who smoked cigarettes or had extensive medical problems.
From Richmond Plastic Surgeons and the Virginia Center for Plastic Surgery.
Received for publication October 30, 2002;
revised January 9, 2003.
Lewis T. Ladocsi, M.D.
5899 Bremo Road, Suite 205
Richmond, Va. 23226