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Ear and atresia reconstruction: adult and paediatric

Published on 21 April 2022

The Ear and Atresia Reconstruction Service provides assessment and review for adults and children who need ear reconstruction and/or implantable hearing devices. The service is located at St John’s Hospital Livingston for adults. The Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh covers children.

What is ear and atresia reconstruction?

Ear and atresia reconstruction can be needed as a result of a congenital condition, such as microtia (deformity of the elastic cartilage of the outer ear). Problems are also sometimes acquired, for example through deformity resulting from trauma, infection or cancer.

With microtia the inner ear may be normal. This allows hearing to be salvaged using bone-anchored hearing aids. Ear reconstruction can then be undertaken – either using cartilage from a patient's rib or by deploying a prosthetic (artificial) ear. The latter gives a more acceptable cosmetic outcome.

Ear reconstruction is an extended procedure rather than a single event. It is often split into phases of management (assessment, surgery and rehabilitation support). Each ear reconstruction may need two surgical procedures. Minor revisions of shape, or modification of the shape with growth, may need a third procedure.

Further information about this service is available on the NHS Lothian website.

A leaflet discussing surgery and decision making around ear reconstruction can be found on the Microtia UK website.

Lead clinician

Mr Ken Stewart, Consultant Paediatric Plastic Surgeon


St John’s Hospital
Howden Road West
West Lothian
EH54 6PP

Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, Edinburgh
Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
50 Little France Crescent
EH16 4SA

NSD contact

NSD Specialist Services

Please note that NSD does not directly provide medical services and we won't be able to answer queries about your own care or appointments. If you would like to discuss any aspects of your care, please contact your primary healthcare provider. This might be your GP, Consultant, Nurse or other healthcare professional. They will be best placed to give you the right advice.