University of Iowa Health Care

Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Harvesting of Ear Cartilage Graft

If video fails to load, use this link:

This is Richard Allen at the University of Iowa.  This video demonstrates the harvesting of an ear cartilage graft.  A marking is made on the posterior surface of the ear, parallel to the curvature of the helix of the ear.  The graft will measure in this case approximately 30 by 12 mm.  An incision is then made with a 15 blade through the skin.  Westcott scissors are then used to dissect along the surface of the cartilage.  The cartilage should be bared with the Westcott scissors.  This is performed along the area of the proposed graft size.  Bipolar cautery is used to control any bleeding.  Again, in this case graft will be approximately 12 mm in height and 30 mm in width.  This graft will be used to elevate the lower eyelid.  The 15 blade is then used to make an incision through the cartilage.  Care should be taken to not violate the skin of the anterior surface of the ear.  The incision is then completed with Westcott scissors.  Usually on blade of the Westcotts can be placed on either side of the cartilage for the harvest.  Again, the size of the cartilage is checked and the Westcott scissors are used to complete the harvesting of the cartilage.  Again, dissection should be carried out along the surface of the cartilage both anteriorly and posteriorly. The curvature of the helix is preserved by retaining approximately 5 mm of the cartilage in that area.  The cartilage is then placed in saline soaked gauze.  Hemostasis is assured with the bipolar cautery.  It is important to control all bleeding as a significant hematoma can accumulate in this area.  The skin is then closed with a single layer of 6-0 prolene suture which is placed in an interrupted fashion.  The patient returns in one week for suture removal. 

last updated: 09/01/2015
  Share this page: