Ten-year-old Cassidy, a Cape Town resident had reason to celebrate this month when a lifelong dream of hers and her mothers came true in Tygerburg Hospital. Cassidy had been suffering from a rare congenital form of microtia where she was born without ears. This debilitating condition had stolen Cassidy’s ability for hearing and impaired her speech leaving sign language as her main form of communication. Earlier this month, Smile Foundation arranged for Cassidy to receive ear surgery to correct her microtia, and give her a completely new attitude towards life.
Many children with external ear underdevelopment due to microtia suffer emotionally from the condition. Microtia can affect a child’s self-esteem when they realize they look different and lead to embarrassment or rejection at school. As parents of children with microtia, it is heartbreaking to see your child feel out of place because of their appearance. Cassidy’s mother, Kathleen Sitella, reported prior to surgery Cassidy felt shy, self-conscious and often covered her face. The gift of surgery to correct her ear malformation from microtia was the greatest gift Cassidy could have received as a ten-year-old girl to help her grow into a strong, confident woman in the Cape Town community.
Microtia in Children
Microtia is a condition that affects 1 out of every 8,000-10,000 births. Parents are often not ready or equipped to deal with the debilitating aspects of microtia, including adapting to hearing issues and maintaining their child’s self confidence despite differences. It is important for parents to consider all resources possible to aid their child’s emotional and continued physical development while maintaining their happiness and strong self-image through microtia. For Cassidy, autologous reconstructive surgery to construct a natural looking ear was the answer.
Autologous Reconstruction for Children with Microtia
Autologous reconstruction is a surgical procedure where surgeons take cartilage from the rib cage and reshape it to form a natural, normal looking ear. Doctors are able to mold the borrowed cartilage to build the framework of an aesthetically natural looking ear with expert precision. This surgery can be transformational for a child, restoring their confidence in their appearance and making them feel comfortable around new people and make friends. As parents of children who were born with microtia, autologous reconstruction can make a life-changing difference.
The entire autologous reconstructive procedure can take a year to complete and is typically done in four parts. The first procedure involves removing cartilage from the sixth, seventh and eight ribs in the rib cage, and planting them into a skin pocket beneath the scalp to allow the skin to adhere to the new cartilage frame. Three months later, the patient returns and the cartilage is shaped into the natural looking form of the ear. A few months after the ear is shaped the patient returns for the raising procedure, which elevates their new ear to natural projection from the head. The final procedure is the fine-tuning of the new ear. The ear is sculpted into the ideal shape and is positioned symmetrically proportional to the rest of the face.
Autologous Reconstruction in Beverly Hills
No child or parent needs to suffer from embarrassment because of microtia. For more information on treatment options for microtia visit our website or call the Ear Surgery Center of Excellence in Beverly Hills today to schedule a consultation at 888.281.8537
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