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Microtia Surgery

Anotia and microtia are counted as congenital disabilities of a child's ear. Anotia happens when the external ear (the piece of the ear that can be seen) is missing entirely. Microtia occurs when the outer ear is little and not shaped legitimately.

What Causes Microtia?

Nobody knows the exact reason of microtia. The medical community does assert the role of genetics. Microtia may happen due to a gene mutation. Certain medications, for example, Accutane (isotretinoin) taken amid pregnancy, diminished bloodstream to the uterus, and natural variables may cause this defect. A mother's chances of delivering a baby with microtia may depend on irregular eating routine, diabetes and lack of medical care amid pregnancy. Pregnant women who eat a diet low in starch and folic acid are at risk of having a baby with microtia.

Apart from the conditions mentioned above, Microtia may also happen because of:

  • Hemifacial Microsomia - The lower half of the face doesn't develop accurately on one side.
  • Goldenhar Disorder - The ear, nose, lip, and jaw don't frame totally.
  • Treacher Collins Disorder - A condition that influences the cheek, jaw, and jaw bones.

What are the Types of Microtia?

The highlights of microtia are characterised into four classifications which are:

  • Grade I Microtia In this kind of microtia, a minor defect is present. The thin ear canal is mostly open.
  • Grade II The tragus (bump on the inner side of the external ear) is seen with a normal base ear. The top ear is somewhat disfigured with a thin or no ear canal.
  • Grade III It is the most widely occurring defect which is described as a small and undeveloped ear with missing ear channel.
  • Grade IV In this condition, the entire ear is missing along with the external ear and auditory canal. This condition is also known as anotia.

What are the Symptoms of Microtia?

If your child has microtia, the following symptoms are observed:

  • Diminished hearing (up to 40 per cent) in the influenced ear.
  • Difficulty in tracking the source of the sound.
  • Frequent ear infections.
  • Total hearing loss.

What is the Diagnostic Procedure for Microtia?

Microtia is a visible condition, so invasive diagnostic tests are rarely needed. Although, hearing loss is checked using an auditory brainstem response test (ABR).

Small stickers (called cathodes) are put on and around the child's head and ears. At that point, a PC measures the responses to different sound.

The test isn't painful at all. The doctors make sure that the child should lie still. If the child is younger than 6 months, the test is conducted amid sleep. The doctors may put some calming medicine in the ear for children who are more than 7 years old.

How is Microtia Surgery Conducted?

Treatment for children with anotia/microtia relies upon the type or seriousness of the condition. Before going ahead with the surgery, an audiologist will test the child's listening ability to diagnose any hearing loss in the ear. Postoperatively, hearing devices might be used to help the child in listening. This step also ensures a quick recovery.

The craniofacial team conducts surgery to recreate the outer ear. The procedure is performed taking in consideration the child's age. Usually, children who are between 5 to 10 years of age are chosen as they can handle the effects of anaesthesia and have enough cartilage to recreate the ear.

Postoperative Care

The child is supposed to stay in the hospital for a day so that the doctors can monitor any signs of complication. Usually, the recovery is fast and the results are permanent.

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