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Individuals born with an ear deformity frequently undergo a physical and emotional transformation with rib cartilage ear reconstruction in New York City. Dr. Charles Thorne is on the leading edge of surgical ear reconstruction in the world and has decades of experience helping patients who were born with microtia, hemifacial microsomia, and other conditions. After a personal consultation, Dr. Thorne will provide you with an outline of the surgical timeline, as well as what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.

Dr. Thorne will assess your facial symmetry, hairline, and the anatomy of your other ear to most successfully plan your treatment.

right ear reconstruction before
right ear reconstruction after

Before and after right ear reconstruction using rib cartilage grafts, The position, angle, size and details of the ear are normal.

The Initial Consultation

During your initial appointment, which usually takes about 30 minutes, Dr. Thorne will ask about your medical and surgical history. It is important to be transparent about your medical history, as prior operations can impact this procedure. He will assess your facial symmetry, hairline, and the anatomy of your other ear to most successfully plan your treatment. In most cases, rib cartilage ear reconstruction involves two surgeries, and should not be considered until the child has enough rib cartilage to construct an adult ear. Children are usually ready for this surgery once they reach the age of ten years.

Understanding the Procedure

Dr. Thorne will make an incision in the patient’s chest to gain access to the ribcage. He will carefully and precisely remove a certain amount of rib cartilage which will serve as the framework for the new ear. Once enough cartilage has been harvested from the ribs, Dr. Thorne will close the incision site, and begin to create the new ear. Once he has completed the framework of the ear, he will carefully place it under a strategically formed pocket of skin on the side of the head.

During the next operation, Dr. Thorne will elevate the ear, wedge a piece of cartilage behind it, and place a skin graft to recreate the depth behind the ear.

Secondary Reconstruction

redo ear reconstruction before
redo ear reconstruction after

The patient underwent microtia repair in childhood but was not satisfied (Left). Dr. Thorne performed redo reconstruction (Right).

Risks and Benefits of Surgery

Perhaps the key benefit of rib cartilage ear reconstruction is the final, natural-looking results that most patients experience, and the fact that the patient’s own tissue will heal normally if ever injured. There are, however, certain risks that should be considered when pursuing this surgical procedure:

  • Removing rib cartilage is uncomfortable for a few days
  • Removing the cartilage in very thin patients can result in an indentation in the chest contour
  • There is a permanent scar on the chest

The advantages of the new ear consisting of the patient’s own tissues, rather than a foreign body that is more prone to exposure and infection, far outweigh the disadvantages listed above.

Begin Your Treatment Plan

Dr. Charles Thorne wants to help you achieve a more natural-looking facial appearance. Contact our practice today to learn more about rib cartilage ear reconstruction, or to schedule an initial consultation.

In The Media


Dr. Thorne is consistently highlighted in every publication profiling the Best Doctors in Manhattan or the Best Doctors in the entire United States. He has been featured in the New York Times multiple years running, as well as America's Top Doctors, and has hosted a radio show on plastic surgery alongside dermatologist Dr. Linda Franks.


  • New York Best Doctors 2019
  • New York Best Doctors 2017
  • New York Best Doctors 2014
  • New York Best Doctors 2008


  • New York Best Doctors 2005
  • Americas Top Doctors 2002
  • Castle Connolly 10th
  • Castle Connolly 6th

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS