Ear malformations such as microtia can severely affect a child’s self-image, especially if the condition is allowed to go uncorrected until school age. The importance of well formed ears in overall facial aesthetics is, unfortunately, reflected in the teasing and bullying inflicted by schoolmates on a child with malformed ears.
Microtia is usually apparent at birth or soon after, and it is seen as a “remnant” ear lobule, concha, acoustic meatus, tragus and incisura intertragica. Microtia is typically unilateral. Bilateral microtia may be associated with severe hearing defects that require consultation with an otologist.
As soon as microtia is identified, the plastic surgeon should partner with the primary care physician in planning an approach to reconstruction. Consultation with the child’s parents will help to plan the age at which reconstruction should begin; reconstruction is often recommended to be completed before the child enters school. Because autologous rib cartilage is commonly required to form a new ear framework, definitive reconstruction may take place at about age 5 or 6 years when rib growth has been adequate. Parents should be informed regarding potential complications of harvesting rib cartilage. Skin-flap techniques are commonly used to mobilize the skin used to cover the new ear framework.
The ultimate success of microtic reconstruction depends on patient selection, adequate counseling of parents, selection of the proper material for an ear framework, surgical skill, and detailed attention in the intraoperative and postoperative periods to prevent complications such as infection, skin flap necrosis and undue pressure on the ear.
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Dr. Morwood is a board certified plastic surgeon who will provide a custom-designed approach to help you achieve your asethtic vision.
Please call (831) 646-8661 to set up a consultation.