Child with microtia who is a candidate for pediatric ear reconstruction

If you are a new or expecting mother, you know all too well the benefits of tracking your baby’s development. However, not every condition is detected with an ultrasound, or at least not immediately. This includes a pediatric ear condition known as microtia, which can be corrected surgically.

What is microtia?

Microtia is a congenital defect of the outer ear where it does not develop properly during the first trimester. This ranges in severity from a small but otherwise normal-appearing ear to complete absence of an outer ear (anotia). Microtia is often accompanied by a condition called aural atresia where the ear canal and tympanic membrane (ear drum) fail to develop. This condition predominantly occurs in males.

What are the side effects of microtia?

Depending on the grade of microtia, patients may experience teasing or bullying due to their ear. Some patients are also self-conscious about their appearance and may choose to wear their hair long to cover the ear. Patients with aural atresia also experience conductive hearing loss on the affected side, which may impact speech development and school performance.

How is microtia treated?

The goal of microtia reconstruction is to provide patients with a more symmetric and normal-appearing ear. Surgical treatment may not be recommended for children who have mild microtia. For more significant cases, microtia reconstruction is typically performed at around ages 5 to 8, when a child’s ears are nearly adult-sized. A new ear is created using a framework made from synthetic material (Medpor) or rib cartilage covered with skin. Alternatively, some patients opt for a prosthetic ear, which is attached by adhesives or pins implanted into the skull. Hearing loss due to aural atresia is usually treated with hearing aids; however, some patients are candidates for surgery to create an ear canal and tympanic membrane.

Dr. Darrin Bann, a CEENTA pediatric ENT physician who practices out of our SouthPark and Steele Creek offices, offers advice for parents. “Having a child with microtia may seem overwhelming, but fortunately there are lots of available treatments to address hearing loss and to change the appearance of the ear.”

Microtia repair and ear reconstruction surgery in Charlotte

CEENTA’s team of dedicated audiologists, neurotologists, facial plastic surgeons, and pediatric ENT surgeons will identify the extent of your child’s hearing loss and will work with you to determine the best treatment for your child, including hearing aids and microtia reconstruction. Schedule your child’s appointment with Dr. Bann online or by using myCEENTAchart if they are a pre-existing patient.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. To make an appointment with any of CEENTA’s doctors, you may schedule online, through myCEENTAchart, or by calling 704-295-3000.


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