Microtia is an ear deformity in which kids are born with irregularly shaped, or missing ears. In the majority of the cases, it only impacts one ear, though there are patients with bilateral microtia as well. With advanced and modern surgical techniques, microtia can be fixed. Depending on the severity, and the extent of deformity, different treatment options are suggested, which include both reconstructing and restoring the patient’s hearing.
Missing ear canal
Several microtia patients also suffer missing or narrowed ear canal, referred to as aural atresia. It is through the ear canal, the sound waves travel, creating vibrations in the eardrums, and ear bones. The brain receives these vibrations and transforms them into sounds. When sound waves fail to move down the ear canal, people cannot differentiate between background noise, and individual sound. This happens because of narrowed or missing ear canal.
People who are left untreated with it face challenges with hearing and communicating in schools, and noisy environments. Therefore, aural atresia is a condition that can contribute to language and speech delays. Thanks to modern and advanced treatments for aural atresia, creating ear canals and eardrums by otologists is better and more appropriate. Parents usually seek treatment as soon as possible so that their kids don’t lag in their social skills.
Other conditions associated with microtia
The majority of the children suffering from microtia usually show no other abnormalities. On rare occasions, a common condition associated is HemifacialMicrosomia. This is the most common condition related to microtia, where half of the face is not in proportion to the other half. The degree of hemifacial microsomia ranges from barely noticeable, to highly identifiable.
Treacher Collins Syndrome is yet another rare condition associated with microtia. The condition affects both ears and eyes with a downward slant. This gives a pulled-down of the facial appearance. The eyelids and jaws get affected and the cheekbones are small as well.
Lastly, Goldenhar Syndrome is a condition that can impact either one or both ears. The condition leads to incomplete ear, nose, lip, jaw, and palate development. In this condition, kids are often found to have abnormalities with neck bones and even suffer from benign eye tumors. A kid suffering from microtia might also suffer from other abnormal conditions.
When a parent seeks effective treatment for his/her child’s microtia, multiple options are available. Rib cartilage reconstruction is the oldest method that includes taking live tissues from the child’s chest and using them for the new outer ear. Surgeons don’t recommend using its technique on kids below the age of eight as it can cause chest deformity.
MEDPOR is another treatment method that is popular and offers better aesthetic outcomes. Artificial tissues/ skin grafts are used to create a natural-looking ear. Usually, a patient requires a single-session surgery, making it cost-effective, and fewer hassles for kids and their parents.
Microtia is a common deformity of the ear during childbirth. Treatment options make the condition easily manageable. The abnormal conditions associated with microtia make things complicated and several reconstructive surgeries might be required.