Byoungjun Jeon BS (a), Chiwon Lee PhD (b), Myungjoon Kim BS (a), Tae Hyun Choi MD PhD (c), Sungwan Kim PhD (b, d), Sukwha Kim MD PhD (c)
Background Microtia is a congenital deformity of the external ear that occurs in 1 of every 5000 births. Microtia reconstruction using traditional two-dimensional templates does not provide highly detailed ear shapes. Here, we describe the feasibility of using a three-dimensional (3D) ear model as a reference. Materials and methods Seven children aged from 11 to 16 (6 grade III and 1 grade II microtia) were recruited from Seoul National University Children's Hospital, Korea. We generated 3D–computer-aided design models of each patient's ear by performing 3D laser scanning for a mirror-transformed cast of their normal ear. The 3D-printed ear model was used in microtia reconstruction surgery following the Nagata technique, and its shape was compared with the casted ear model. Results One patient experienced irritation caused by accidently pouring resin into the external auditory meatus, and another had minor skin necrosis; both complications were successfully treated. The average percentage differences of the superior, inferior, anterior, posterior, and lateral views between the casted and 3D-printed ear models were 1.17%, 1.48%, 1.64%, 1.80%, and 5.44%, respectively (average: 2.31%), where the difference between the casted ear models and traditional two-dimensional templates were 16.03% in average. Conclusions Our results show that simple microtia reconstruction can be performed using 3D ear models. The 3D-printed ear models of each patient were consistent and accurately represented the thickness, depth, and height of the normal ear. The availability of the 3D-printed ear model in the operating room reduced the amount of unnecessary work during surgery.