Mr Sabbagh is acknowledged as one of the national and international experts in reconstructive surgery of the ear. He provides a national service for complex reconstructive ear surgery in the NHS at the Royal Free Hospital, London.
Ear Reconstruction is considered one of the most complex operations in Plastic Surgery. It is performed in patients born with an underdeveloped ear (a condition known as Microtia) or those who have lost their normal ear through trauma. The ear is reconstructed using rib cartilage which is carved to match the detail of the other ear.
The reconstruction process is in two stages, about 6-12 months apart. The first involves creating a skin pocket at the site of the ear by re-orientating the available tissue and thinning the skin to mimic the ear skin. Rib cartilage is then harvested and carved to produce a very detailed framework. The framework is inserted in the pocket and gentle suction is applied to enable adherence of skin. This operation takes 4-6 hours and expected length of stay is 3-5 days. At the completion of this stage the whole ear will be visibly reconstructed but will be adherent to the side of the head.
The second stage involves releasing the ear from the head and inserting a piece of cartilage behind it to maintain projection. The cartilage is covered with vascularised tissue and a skin graft. This takes 3-4 hours and expected hospital stay is 2-3 days.