Will A Cartilage Supplement Help My Otoplasty Heal Better?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am having an otoplasty (ear pinning) soon and want to do everything to help it heal well. I take a cartilage supplement glucosamine-chondroitin liquid, Joint Juice) daily because of a previous knee injury. The supplement also contains green tea extract as well as multiple vitamins and a few carbs. Is it ok to keep taking it for my surgery? It is supposed to help strengthen cartilage so do you think it would be helpful for recovery? Should I double up on my amount per day to make my ears heal better?

A: In the nutritional supplement craze in which we live, it is very logical to ask if a cartilage repair supplement might help an otoplasty to heal better. After all, an otoplasty works by cartilage bending and healing in a new position. To make the linear assumption then that a supplement to repair cartilage should be helpful for healing ear cartilage as well would seem to make sense. The only thing I can say for sure is that your continued use  of it will have no adverse effects on your otoplasty healing. Whether it has any benefit at all is unknown and doubtful. There is a big difference in the cartilage of a synovial-lined joint and that in the ear or nose. That is an assumption that probably wouldn’t hold up under any scientific scrutiny. Therefore, I would not increase your intake of this supplement for your otoplasty surgery. The only real beneficiary of that approach would likely be the manufacturer of the product.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana