Facts About Microtia

What is Microtia?

Microtia is an ear birth abnormality in children. It is a condition in which the external ear is tiny and poorly developed.

During the first several weeks of pregnancy, microtia is common. These flaws might range from being scarcely noticeable to posing a serious difficulty with the ear’s development. The appearance of the baby’s ear is generally affected by microtia, although the portions of the ear inside the skull (the inner ear) are usually unaffected. Some kids with this condition, however, will also have a narrowed or absent ear canal.

Types of Microtia

Microtia is divided into four categories, ranging from Type 1 to Type 4. The mildest variant is Type 1, in which the ear preserves its original shape but is smaller than normal. Type 4 is the most severe, characterized by the absence of all external ear structures (anotia). One or both ears may be affected by this illness. However, newborns with only one damaged ear are more common.

How Common is Microtia in Newborns?

Researchers have difficulty measuring how many babies in the United States are affected because the severity of microtia ranges from minor to severe. In the United States, researchers estimate that one out of every 2,000-10,000 kids is born with microphthalmia.

Risk Factors and Causes

Most newborns’ causes of microtia are unknown. Alteration in their DNA causes microtia in some newborns. It can also be caused by a mutation in a single gene, resulting in a hereditary condition. Taking the drug isotretinoin (Accutane) during pregnancy is another documented cause of the disease. This medication can cause a pattern of birth abnormalities, including microtia. These problems are caused by a mix of genes and other circumstances, such as what the mother comes into touch within the environment, what she eats and drinks, and certain medications she takes during pregnancy.


At birth, microtia is apparent. By simply observing the newborn, a doctor will identify the problem. A CT or CAT scan of the baby’s ear (a specific x-ray test) can provide a thorough picture of the ear. This will allow the doctor to determine whether the ear’s bones or other structures are impacted. A doctor will also conduct a thorough physical examination to check for additional birth problems.


Treatment for microtia in newborns is determined by the severity of the problem. An audiologist, a healthcare expert, or a hearing specialist, will test the baby’s hearing to see if there is any hearing loss in the ear(s) with the problem.

If they find a problem, then the child is prepared for surgery. The timing of surgery is determined by the severity of the deformity as well as the age of the kid. Surgery is commonly done between the ages of 4 and 10. If the infant has other birth abnormalities, additional therapy may be required.


Children with microtia can develop normally and have healthy lives without other disorders. If they are concerned about obvious differences between themselves and other children, some children with microtia may have self-esteem issues. Parent-to-parent support groups can be beneficial for new families of babies with birth abnormalities of the head and face, such as microtia.