Lower auricular malformations: their representation, correction, and embryologic correlation

C Park
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 1999, 104 (1): 29-40
Seventy-seven lower auricular malformations in 74 patients treated during the last 6 years were analyzed. Sixty cases (77.9 percent) were of malformations involving the earlobe; 54 cases involved the earlobe alone, and 6 cases were of complex deformities involving the earlobe and adjacent helix and/or tragus. Cleft earlobe was the most common lower auricular malformation (49 cases, 63.6 percent); four subtypes and their corrective methods are described. Cases of complex earlobe malformations, corrected by fabricated costal cartilage and expanded skin flap, are presented. A question mark ear (5 cases, 6.5 percent), a malformation with an ectopic anthelical fold (5 cases, 6.5 percent), and a malformation with a lower conchal stria (5 cases, 6.5 percent) are considered to be major lower auricular malformations. An attempt has been made to correlate the presented malformations with the embryologic-fetal development of the auricle. It is suggested that "clefting" ear malformations such as the cleft earlobe, the question mark ear, and the ectopic anthelical fold deformity may provide clues to understanding the embryologic-fetal development of the human auricle. It appears that hillocks 1 and 6 produce the earlobe and that hillock 4 or 5 produces the anthelix or helix.


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