Microtia surgery is a procedure to repair deformed ears which may include creating a new ear out of the person’s own tissue, such as rib cartilage, or building an artificial (prosthetic) ear.
What is Microtia
Microtia means tiny ear, and refers to an inborn condition where one or both of the outer ears are very small, malformed or absent. Microtia occurs very rarely maybe once in every 6,000 births. Some forms of these ear deformities are genetic and may occur with other congenital problems.
Microtia usually affects one ear but can occur in both ears. It usually occurs due to abnormal ear development during the first trimester of pregnancy.
There are four types of microtia which is determined by the severity of the condition.
- Type 1: External ear is smaller than average but all parts are present with minor deformities.
- Type 2: Outer ear is partially formed and small.
- Type 3: Some auricular structures but no recognized ear parts.
- Type 4: Anotia (complete absence of external ear).
Can you still hear if you have microtia?
People who have microtia may have some degree of hearing loss in their affected ear, particularly if there are issues with middle ear or ear canal development. But the structures in your inner ear may have the ability to conduct sound, even if your ear canal is completely closed. Therefore, surgery to open your ear canal may improve hearing. There are also hearing devices that can help even if your ear canals are closed.
If your baby has microtia, it’s important to get their hearing tested. Even mild hearing loss can affect how speech develops.
How is microtia treated?
The external appearance of microtia doesn’t always require treatment, but it’s important to address any hearing loss if present. It’s essential to undergo hearing evaluation early and maintain hearing follow-up through early childhood. If there’s hearing loss associated with microtia, your child could develop speech difficulties if the hearing loss isn’t treated.
If you choose to treat microtia, there are a couple options:
- Ear prosthetics.
- Microtia surgery (surgical reconstruction).
Usually made of silicone, an ear prosthetic attaches with adhesive or magnets. Ear prosthetics require maintenance over time and may not be the best option for some children.
Microtia surgery involves reconstructing the affected ear. Healthcare providers usually recommend beginning reconstructive surgery between the ages of 6 and 9. Depending on the technique used, reconstruction may require multiple stages.
During this process, a surgeon creates a new ear from cartilage taken from your child’s rib or from synthetic (human-made) materials. Surgeons can also use an ear implant to rebuild your child’s ear. All of these techniques provide a framework that your surgeon will cover with your child’s own tissue.
Recovery after microtia surgery depends on the specific treatment. Your provider will tell you when it’s safe for your child to resume normal activities.
Microtia surgery is available in Malaysia and the procedure will be performed by our well sought-after Plastic surgeon at accredited Medical Centre in Kuala Lumpur.