Children who are born with microtia have a thin, malformed, or missing external ear that is congenital. Microtia is often synonymous with an ear canal that is missing or shortened, resulting in substantially impaired hearing. Microtia is observed 90 percent of the time on one hand (unilateral). Only 10 percent of babies born with microtia on both sides have the disease. If your child has microtia, it is highly recommended to go to your nearest microtia NYC clinic to correct the defect.  

Microtia is a rare disease, and in various nations, the occurrence of microtia in newborns varies. In the United States, only one in 8,000 to 10,000 children is born annually with microtia. In Asia and some Central and South American countries, the frequency tends to be greater. 

The Four Grades of Microtia

  • First Grade of Microtia

Tiny ear with generally natural morphology of the ear and sometimes without a narrow duct or canal.

  • Second Grade of Microtia

Characterized, with a formed tragus, by some ear anatomy. Typically, the bottom 1/3 of the ear is natural, without an ear canal or a narrow canal.

  • Third Grade of Microtia

This happens when there are small, underdeveloped ear residues and the ear has no canal. This grade of microtia is the most common defect out of the four grades. 

  • Fourth Grade of Microtia

This condition is called anotia where ear remnants or ear canal are present.

The cause of the disease is unclear. Owing to the low prevalence of microtia, prenatal ultrasound is typically not discovered, and only a limited number of families have a family history of microtia. It is crucial for parents to realize that during pregnancy, there is nothing that you might have done better to improve the health of your infant. The positive news is that microtia can be successfully fixed by medical science, allowing you and your kid to step on and experience an outstanding quality of life.

Common Disorders That are Usually Associated with Microtia

For children that have microtia, he or she can either have Aural Atresia or Aural Stenosis. Atresia, although stenosis refers to a narrowing of the canal and a small eardrum, is the lack of an actual ear canal and eardrum. The ability to convey sound to the inner ear is impaired with either atresia or stenosis which results in a severe loss of hearing. Even though it can be said that aural atresia or stenosis is present in all children that have microtia, it does not mean that all children with aural atresia or stenosis have microtia. It is typically an isolated discovery when a baby is born with microtia. No such anomalies exist in the vast majority of children with microtia.

Microtia happens on rare occasions as part of a condition of several anomalies. One of the most common microtia-associated disorder is known as hemifacial microsomia – a condition wherein half of the child’s face is not developed in proportion to the other half. The degree of hemifacial microsomia ranges from barely visible to very noticeable (most common) (less common).

Both ears are implicated in Treacher Collins Syndrome which often affects the pupils, which tend to have a backward slant or a drawn-down look. The cheekbones are thin and are influenced by the eyelids and jaw. Either one or both of the ears can have Goldenhar Syndrome – a condition that is being characterized by incomplete ear, nose, soft palate, lip, and jaw growth. These children also have defects in the bones of the spine as well as a healthy eye tumor. 

What to Expect When Deciding to Consult for Ear Molding

During your initial appointment for a consultation, the medical practitioner will take your baby’s comprehensive medical records and conduct a physical exam at your first appointment. If your kid is a candidate for ear molding at this visit, the medical practitioner will use an ear device. The procedure is almost painless and quick as this can be done in just a few short steps. 

A tiny area of hair near your baby’s ear will be removed by a medical professional. The skin, which has a built-in adhesive that adheres to the skin, can be washed and the device added. Using a soft silicone retainer and shell conformer, the ear is positioned in the desired position and shape. As well as a protective mask, the extra tape is added to keep the unit from slipping off.

After the consultation, in the next two weeks thereafter, follow-up tests will be done and ear molding is conducted until the desired findings are obtained.

When your infant is less than two to three weeks old, beginning the ear molding process early normally takes just 2 or 3 weeks of molding to produce the desired outcome. Often, using just double-sided tape, the medical practitioner will continue the procedure to fine-tune the findings for an extra week.

If ear molding begins when your baby is older than 3 weeks, the procedure will continue for 4 to 6 weeks before the desired endpoint is reached.

What to Expect When Deciding To Have Your Child Undergo Ear Molding

  • Things that you should observe in preparation for the ear reconstruction surgery

During the initial appointment, the general doctor will examine the child’s ear anomaly. If your child is an ear reconstruction nominee, he will explain in depth the Microtia surgery, addressing any questions you and your family might have about the operation and post-treatment care. If your child may discontinue any drugs before the procedure, you will be told. To use the simulated and unique development of your child’s personalized reconstructed ear, a 3D CT scan will be acquired.

  • What happens during the ear reconstruction surgery

The treatment takes less than 2 hours and is an outpatient procedure (you can go home the same day). General anesthesia, while reduced by local anesthesia, is utilized. The doctor is going to use Musculoskeletal Tissue Base (MTF) treated cadaveric rib cartilage to sculpt the ear and insert the construct. This requires natural cartilage to be used in the reconstruction of your ear or in the ear reconstruction of your infant.

  • What to observe after the ear reconstruction surgery

For post-op pain relief, patients only require Motrin or Tylenol. The reconstructed ear will usually be sore and will need to be filled with silicone putty for about 7 days. Patients can frequently return to work or school within 2 or 3 days, but for 3 or 4 weeks they are prohibited from contact sports.

Patients will be scheduled for follow-up visits and consult with their physicians during their rehabilitation process to ensure proper healing takes place.