Microtia, literally meaning “little ear” or “small ear” is a congenital malformation of the ear. Children with this condition have an underdeveloped pinna or outer ear. Studies show that the deformity occurs in about one per 7000 to 8000 newborns. The reason why this disorder occurs is not clear, though it can be genetic. Though not a life-threatening disorder, affected children may suffer hearing aliments or facial deformities. The condition can be set right with microtia surgery.
Microtia is manifest in various forms:
•Small ear with identifiable structures and a tiny external ear canal •Incomplete ear with a stenotic external ear canal resulting in conductive hearing loss •Small peanut like vestige structure exists but without external ear, external ear canal and the ear drum •Non-existence of the whole ear or anotia
The condition can affect a single ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral); when it is unilateral, it is mostly the right ear that is affected.
Treatment involves surgery to harvest rib cartilage and create a new ear. Surgery is performed when the child is big enough to have rib cartilage to spare.
Rib Cartilage Graft Reconstruction
Microtia surgery, performed by expert plastic surgeons, involves two stages. First, the cartilage is extracted from the ribs, carved, molded, and reshaped to create a new ear. The ear is placed to lie flat against the head and no space is left behind the ear. Carving the framework of the ear, including the ear lobes, is a meticulous procedure. Hospital stay of several days may be required. The second stage, which is performed about four to six months after the first stage, involves elevating the ear and projecting it away from the head. The patient may be allowed to go home in a day or two, though continuous follow-ups are required till the new ear has healed.
Choose an Experienced Plastic Surgeon
As this surgical treatment for the ears involves using cartilage from the child’s own body, chances of graft rejection are reduced. However, it is important to find a reliable surgeon who has sufficient expertise in the pediatric ear reconstruction surgery to treat microtia. If your child has microtia, choose an AAAASF-accredited plastic surgery practice with an experienced plastic surgeon. Only a skilled surgeon can assure comprehensive microtia surgery solutions with safety and efficacy, and minimal surgical trauma.