Microtia is a congenital ear deformity that creates an unattractive appearance and causes hearing loss. It is often evident at birth and can distress new parents. Although it occasionally occurs as a symptom of a more complex syndrome, most parents are relieved to find that it usually appears alone and that they are not “at fault.” Most importantly, parents should be aware that effective treatment for microtia is possible with the assistance of a skilled and experienced reconstructive team.
At Plastic and Craniofacial Surgery for Infants and Children, we provide compassionate care for children with congenital disorders and birth defects. Request a consultation online or call us at (469) 375-3838 to schedule a time to meet with our team. We take a deep personal interest in the overall wellness of the children who visit our practice, caring for their spirit as we heal their bodies.
Evaluation & Treatment
Microtia is characterized by an underdeveloped outer ear (pinna). It is usually unilateral, but may occur on both ears. In some instances, the pinna may be completely absent; this is referred to as anotia, the most severe form of microtia. Atresia, the closing-off of the aural passage, is often associated with microtia because the middle ear is also underdeveloped.
Treatment of microtia/anotia will be determined by several important factors; among the most significant of these are:
- The severity of the microtia (the degree to which the pinna is underdeveloped)
- Whether the microtia is unilateral (on one ear) or bilateral (on both ears)
Microtia repair surgery generally begins when the child is about 5 to 7 years of age. There are several procedural options, but a rib graft is the most common approach to reconstruction. It requires several steps. First, cartilage is removed from the child’s rib. Next, the cartilage is placed beneath the skin and formed into the shape of a “normal” ear. A skin graft will cover the cartilage. Subsequent stages position the earlobe and elevate the ear from the scalp.
A Happy, Healthy Child
We encourage you to choose your surgeon wisely. Although surgeon qualifications are always important, they are especially so with this incredibly delicate procedure. But rest assured that, in the hands of our team of ear reconstructive specialists, surgical outcomes can be very positive. When a child is treated early in life, years of teasing and, perhaps, the lifelong need to wear a hearing aid can be prevented. Children and parents alike feel the relief of a “normal” ear.