If you or your child has recently been diagnosed with microtia, you may be wondering what the first step in treatment entails. Due to malformation of the external ear, microtia may impair hearing and, in rare instances, indicate an additional developmental abnormality. An early microtia diagnosis is important to ensure overall health and to establish an effective, individualized treatment plan.
The Ear Surgery Center of Excellence in Los Angeles boasts one of the most renowned teams of reconstructive surgeons in the country. Our facial plastic surgeons and otolaryngologists are highly skilled in the treatment of microtia and are dedicated to providing comprehensive, patient-centered care.
For more information or to schedule a consultation with a microtia expert, contact us today at (888) 281-8537.
Initial Steps After a Microtia Diagnosis
An ear deformity is typically apparent and diagnosed upon physical examination following the delivery of a child with microtia. The first tests that will be performed, usually while the infant is still in the hospital, are a renal ultrasound and an EKG (electrocardiogram) to check the kidneys and heart, respectively. The ears, kidneys, and heart all develop around the same time during the first trimester of pregnancy. Though microtia usually occurs as an isolated condition, these tests will confirm full development of the heart and kidney and hopefully rule out any long-term risks or concerns.
Next, a hearing test (audiogram) will be recommended to assess the function of the affected ear and determine if there is any hearing correction needed. Hearing is a critical component of language development and should be addressed as early as possible. A variety of hearing tests exist and are divided into two categories:
- BAER (brain stem auditory evoked response) testing
- Behavioral testing
BAER testing is used to evaluate how well sounds travel along the hearing nerve pathways from the ear to the brainstem. The exam involves placing electrodes on the surface of the forehead and behind each ear to measure the electrical responses between ear and brain. When a child with microtia is old enough to respond to behavioral cues, tests such as SAT (speech awareness threshold) and VRA (visual reinforcement audiometry) may be used to evaluate quality of hearing.
Follow-up Tests for Microtia
Regular monitoring of hearing and language is critical for patients with microtia. Our doctors suggest that a child born with microtia should receive repeat auditory exams every three months until the age of two and then every six months until the age of four. Individuals with bilateral microtia (affecting both ears) often benefit from speech therapy for the first several years of life.
By the age of 5, patients with more severe microtia are encouraged to receive a CT scan of the temporal lobe. This high-definition imaging is used to rule out the formation of a benign tumor in the middle ear, which occurs at a higher rate in individuals with aural atresia. Additionally, a CT scan allows your physician to evaluate the middle ear structure and determine if you are a candidate for reconstructive surgery of the ear canal.
Contact a Microtia Specialist in Los Angeles
At the Ear Surgery Center of Excellence, our goal is to provide the highest quality of care in a safe, state-of-the-art medical environment. Our ear surgeons have trained at some of the most prestigious medical institutions in the country and utilize advanced surgical techniques to provide the most natural looking results. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation by calling (888) 281-8537 or filling out our contact form.
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