Microtia is a congenital defect in which the patient is born with abnormally small ears. In the most severe form, which is called anotia, the patient has no external ears at all. The less severe types of microtia are grouped into three grades. In Grade 1, the mildest type, the patient’s ears are abnormally small, but otherwise look normal. In Grades 2 and 3, the patient’s ears are malformed as well as abnormally small.
Microtia can affect one or both ears, and the more severe forms are accompanied by hearing loss. It can occur on its own or as part of a syndrome like Treacher-Collins. Fortunately, many cases of small ears can be enhanced with ear surgery.
How is it Treated?
Very small ears usually require surgery, and the patient may need more than one operation. It all depends on the unique situation. We may perform the first procedure when the child is around five or six years old. By that age, the child’s ears will have more or less reached their adult size. We usually prefer to at least begin repairing a child’s ears before they start school to spare them teasing by their peers.
There are a variety of different techniques that may be used in ear surgery to enhance small ears. Some techniques use cartilage and/or tissue from other parts of the patient’s body to achieve very natural-looking results. Other techniques may involve the use of artificial or prosthetic ears. It will all depend on the unique needs of the patient in addition to our surgeon’s suggests.
Benefits of Getting Ear Surgery
Getting ear surgery, especially at a young age, can help patients avoid getting bullied or picked on for having abnormally-sized ears. So perhaps the greatest benefit of getting ear surgery is an improved self-confidence. After a person’s ears have been made into a more proportionate size, they are much more willing to want to get out and be social. An improved self-esteem leads to an improved quality of life. This is because the way we feel about ourselves has a direct effect on how we live our lives.
Learn More During a Consultation
Just because you were born with small ears doesn’t mean you have to live with them forever. Make an appointment at The Institute of Aesthetic Surgery in Altamonte Springs or Celebration to learn more about how ear surgery can benefit you. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.