Microtia is a rare condition, occurring in approximately 1 out of every 6,000 births. From the parent’s perspective on microtia, many have never heard of it until their newborns arrive with a malformed or absent ear. As a child living with microtia becomes older, several reconstructive options are available that can provide a more natural-looking ear and restored confidence in one’s appearance.
The Ear Surgery Center of Excellence in Beverly Hills boasts an expert team of plastic reconstructive surgeons and otolaryngologists, specializing in the treatment of ear injury and congenital deformity. Our doctors are highly skilled in the treatment of microtia and are dedicated to providing each patient with comprehensive, individualized care for their condition.
If you are a parent of a child living with microtia and would like to learn more about treatments or to schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons, contact us at (888) 281-8537.
The Ideal Parent’s Perspective on Microtia
It is common for parents who have recently learned of their child’s congenital deformity to feel alarmed, distressed, and overwhelmed. However, it is important to remember that microtia in itself is benign and usually not associated with severe or life-threatening health conditions – microtia can, however, lead to hearing loss. Whether your child undergoes reconstructive treatment early on, as an adult, or not at all; they can go on to lead a normal and happy life.
During the first few years of childhood, it is crucial to keep an eye out for changes in your child’s behavior that may indicate impaired hearing. Speech and communication delays are often an indirect sign of hearing loss in young children and should be assessed by a physician as soon as they become a concern.
As your child nears the age of 4, they will become aware that their ear is different. During this stage of development, the psychological and social impact of microtia begins to take effect. It is quite common for a child living with microtia to feel embarrassment, to lose self-esteem, and to be bullied by other children throughout the early school-age years. Therefore, our doctors encourage parents to discuss or decide upon a reconstructive treatment option for their children at an early age.
Parents’ Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why wasn’t my child’s microtia detected on an ultrasound?
A: While abnormalities of key organs such as the heart or kidneys are readily identified on traditional ultrasound, a deformity of the ear can be much more difficult to detect. More advanced 3D ultrasound imaging now enables full evaluation of the external ear, though a deformity can still be missed.
Q: How will my child’s hearing be affected?
A: In most cases, microtia only affects the outer and middle ear. It is very rare for a deformity to impact the nerves of the inner ear, which are much more important for hearing. If your child has a closed ear canal (aural atresia) in one or both ears, your doctor will suggest hearing tests to determine the extent of hearing loss as well as candidacy for hearing correction.
Q: What type of specialists should be involved in my child’s care?
A: Since microtia is an aesthetic concern that can also impact your child’s quality of hearing, an Otolaryngologist (Ear, Nose, & Throat doctor) and/or a Facial Plastic & Reconstructive surgeon should be involved in the treatment process. Facial plastic surgeons are unique in that they are board-certified in both of these specialties and can provide care for hearing-related problems as well as aesthetic treatments related to microtia. It is often beneficial to have a facial plastic surgeon involved from the very beginning of treatment, as this allows plenty of time for you and your child to gather information and weigh the pros/cons of various reconstructive options.
Q: How do I know if reconstructive surgery is the right option?
A: Our surgeons believe that the decision to undergo ear reconstructive surgery should be approached with a positive attitude and the child’s best interests in mind. Though the idea of having your child undergo surgery can be distressing, the psychological and social impact of microtia surgery can be absolutely life changing. Before reaching a decision, it is important to consult an experienced facial plastic surgeon to discuss expectations, preferences, and candidacy for the various treatments. Ultimately, the choice is up to you and your child.
For additional information on the general topic of microtia and treatment options, visit our Microtia FAQs.
Contact a Microtia Specialist in Beverly Hills
At the Ear Surgery Center of Excellence, our goal is to provide the highest quality of care in a safe, state-of-the-art environment. Led by renowned facial plastic surgeon Dr. Carlo Honrado, our team doctors received their training at some of the most prestigious medical institutions in the country, and each utilizes 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.
Next, learn about treatment for microtia.