Histological assessment of microtia cartilage, a potential source of autograft tissue in ear reconstruction.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of anatomy


california; santa monica; pni


Cartilage is a strong and flexible connective tissue that has many forms and functions in our body. While cartilage exhibits some forms of limited repair, for the most part, it is not particularly regenerative. Thus, in situations where patients require cartilage reconstruction, surgeons may use autografts to replace missing or damaged tissue. Cartilage tissues from different regions of the body exhibit histological differences and are in limited supply. Thus, it is important to characterize these differences to determine the most appropriate autograft source. In the case of microtia, a congenital deformity where the pinna is underdeveloped, reconstruction commonly utilizes cartilage sourced from a patient's own costal cartilage. This presents a potential morbidity risk. In this study, we evaluate the histological characteristics of microtia cartilage compared with normal auricular and costal cartilage obtained from human patients undergoing surgical resection. Histochemistry was used to evaluate cellularity, lipid content, and ECM content. Using a Bayesian statistical approach, we determined that while costal cartilage is the standard tissue donor, the microanatomy of microtia cartilage more closely reflects normal auricular cartilage than costal cartilage. Therefore, microtia cartilage may serve as an additional reservoir for cartilage during reconstruction.

Clinical Institute

Neurosciences (Brain & Spine)