Atlanta Plastic Surgeon Dr. Mark Mitchell Jones Educates Medical Professionals on Total and Sub-Total Ear Reconstruction due to Congenital Defect or Trauma

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Atlanta Plastic Surgery Specialists physician Dr. Mark Mitchell Jones devotes a large portion of his practice to correcting congenital deformities like cleft lip and microtia. He is a nationally recognized speaker and recently spoke at the 21st Annual Cleft Lip and Palate Symposium sponsored by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Ear Reconstruction

The challenge of this demanding surgery and the extreme satisfaction I receive from parents and especially the children make this an amazing job

Reconstructive surgery for congenital defects like microtia(comes from Latin words micro and otia, meaning little ear) are very challenging surgeries that can only be performed by a surgeon with specialized training and skill. Successful reconstruction surgery can give children and adults with these defects maximum physical, social and emotional functioning with no self-consciousness and eliminate self-esteem issues.

At five years of age, our ears have grown to approximately 90% of their full adult size, making this the ideal age for ear reconstruction to begin. Starting the process prior to school age, before exposing the child to the detrimental school yard bullying and teasing, is a tremendous benefit to the child.

There are several methods available for microtia surgery including sculpted rib grafts, artificial implants, plastic glue-ons, or snap-on ears. The tried and true method of the sculpted rib graft technique however has stood the test of time. The rib graft technique has the advantage of using one's own natural tissue that will grow along with the child and not be rejected by the body. It also will not fall off during sports activities and is less susceptible to the infections that plague artificial ears.

Some of the other issues of artificial implants are a lack of natural coloring and sensation. A rib graft technique ear reconstruction will retain some sensation and will naturally flush as the face and neck do with cold, excitement or embarrassment. This natural looking appearance gives the rib graft technique ear a substantial advantage over artificial implants.

Standard rib graft technique surgery is usually done in four stages. Only the first stage for the actual rib grafting procedure requires a hospital stay. The remaining stages are done on an outpatient basis and are necessary for construction of the earlobe, outer canal and refinement of the cartilage to resemble a natural ear. Since the entire process –
allowing for healing between stages – can take a minimum of nine months it is good begin the process early.

An Atlanta plastic surgeon, like Dr. Jones, whose work includes ear reconstruction surgery, is the best candidate to perform microtia correction. An Otolaryngologist (ENT) is generally only trained in the workings of the inner ear, nasal passages, sinuses and throat tissue. Dr. Jones is nationally recognized for his authority on the outer ear and can perform the outer ear reconstruction without compromising the workings of the middle ear.

"The challenge of this demanding surgery and the extreme satisfaction I receive from parents and especially the children make this an amazing job," Dr. Jones exclaims. "The
cutest thank you notes, the hugs, and the stories about their new ears; what else can a doctor ask for to keep coming up with ever better ways of doing his job?" he continues.

Choosing the right doctor for the first time is crucial, because the first microtia repair surgery attempt is your best chance to get the best results. If you have to go back to another doctor to fix a poorly reconstructed ear, it takes even better than the best doctor to do a good job. You want someone experienced in not only carving out the cartilage and designing the ear, but someone who can do it quickly, efficiently, and effectively. It takes precise aesthetic sense and extreme dexterity to be able to carve out a three-dimensional structure out of a living tissue to match the patients other ear, a mirror image. In addition, the surgeon must be able to insert this living tissue creation inside the patients stretched skin, place it properly in a short amount of time, and have good intuition during the operation regarding any individual adjustments needed.

"Many ask about the synthetic ears and why I believe my method is a superior approach. There are many reasons. First, as our bodies are designed to reject any foreign objects, the complication rate is much higher with synthetic ears. Also, a synthetic implant, whether a glued-on or a snapped-on ear, is physically inconvenient and cumbersome and is exposed to further trauma. Finally, notable otologists will not operate for the hearing part on a synthetic ear implant because of added complications. By reducing the risk of rejection and further trauma while not hindering the future work of an otologist are all solid reasons for using my rib grafting technique," stated Dr. Jones.

Dr. Jones expertise has led him to develop several improvements to the best ear
reconstruction standards. These enhancements include the ICG (Integrated Cartilage Graft), the WAE (Wrap Around Earlobe), JE (Juxtaposition Ear), and the BE (Bespoke Ear). Each of these ear repair and reconstruction techniques and developments has addressed reconstruction issues and positively impacted the patient's quality of life.

About Dr. Jones

Dr. Jones earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia after obtaining a bachelors degree from Emory in Chemistry and Pre-Med. He attended the University of Canterbury in New Zealand for Medical Business Administration and Oxford University in England where he obtained an additional Bachelors & Master's degree in Medical Physiology and Research. Dr. Jones returned to the U.S. and did his residency at Johns Hopkins University in ENT and Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Jones completed a Fulbright Fellowship in Plastic Surgery in Paris, France and completed a second residency in plastic surgery at Stanford University.

Dr. Jones's unique combination of dual board certification from The American Board of Plastic Surgery and The American Board of Otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat; ENT), and over 20 years of experience give him a unique skill set to enhancing both the aesthetic features and the natural functionality of the body.

Dr. Mark Mitchell Jones of Atlanta Plastic Surgery Specialists is located at 2001 Peachtree Rd., N.E. Suite 630, Atlanta, GA 30309. He can be reached at 404-355-3566 or online at


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