Microtia is the condition when one is born with not well formed or absent ears. The condition can be only on one (unilateral) or both sides (bilateral). In some cases hearing might also be impeded, and the facial symmetry can be affected. Microtia ear reconstruction surgery is a popular method to reconstruct the external ear, help address hearing problems, and improve the overall facial appearance.
Need of Ear Reconstruction Surgery in Microtia
As microtia is most of the times a treatable condition, one can take advantage of the surgical options to address both the physical appearance and any hearing problem that the condition can cause. Your child is susceptible to ear infections and development of speech problems due to absolute dependency on one ear. Early reconstruction prevents this kind of problems associated with microtia.
Features of Ear Reconstruction Surgical Procedure
It is recommended to opt for ear reconstruction surgery when the child is of 5 to 7 years of age. There are mainly two steps involved in reconstruction procedure. In the first surgery, cartilage is taken from the ribs and is then shaped and molded to resemble ear cartilage. Ribs can reform the cartilage, so this is perfectly safe. After the ear shape is achieved, the cartilage is placed under the skin and the skin takes the shape of the future ear. This reconstructed ear lies flat against the head. Elevation of the ear is done at a second surgical procedure about four months after the first one. In this surgery the ear is placed in its final position away from the head and with the help of a small cartilage block and a new skin graft.
Microtia ear reconstruction surgery can be performed using one’s own cartilage, or artificial materials. Use of natural cartilage promotes better adaptation of the newly reconstructed ear and is associated with lower rates of infection after the procedure.