Author(s): Akyrek M, Safak T, Keik A
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Abstract The authors describe a case of microvascular ear replantation with repair of the artery only and medicinal leech therapy that survived for 14 days but ultimately failed as a result of the absence of development of venous channels between the replant and the recipient bed. A 35-year-old man presented with complete avulsion of 80\% of the right external ear. The auricle was revascularized successfully via transposition of the superficial temporal artery (STA) and end-to-end anastomosis between the STA and an identified arterial branch on the posterior surface of the ear, using the technique of longitudinal wedge resection. No suitable veins could be found, therefore medicinal leech therapy was used for venous drainage as well as for systemic heparinization. Although the replant remained viable, frequency of leeching did not decrease over 2 weeks. On postoperative day 14, despite obvious viability of the replanted ear, leeching was stopped, considering the ongoing blood loss. Unfortunately, the auricle was found to be necrosed totally the following day. In retrospect, the authors think that inadequate debridement of nonvital tissues may have led to the failure of development of venous channels between the replant and the recipient bed, as manifested by the frequent requirement of leeching to relieve venous congestion long after revascularization. They conclude that the importance of thorough debridement cannot be overemphasized in microsurgical ear replantation with no vein anastomosis, as demonstrated in their patient. From the point of view of creation of venous drainage channels, deepithelialization of the posterior ear skin may be beneficial.
This article was published in Ann Plast Surg
and referenced in Journal of Clinical Case Reports