The Complete Guide to Microtia Surgery

The Complete Guide to Microtia Surgery

by Shearly (SU)

Nothing is more precious than your children’s health and well-being. When a child is born with a rare congenital deformity that can be corrected, parents will want to seek out the best, most compassionate, professional medical care.

A perfect example is with microtia, which occurs when the outer part of the ear does not develop fully in utero and the child is born with small, narrow, irregularly shaped ears. Not only do one or both ears appear malformed, but the child’s ear canal also appears quite narrow, or is completely absent, which can result in a significant hearing loss.

Although microtia is not a life-threatening condition, it can take both an emotional and physical toll on a child’s confidence and self-esteem. Plus, if your hearing is diminished it can cause learning difficulties and trouble in social settings, not to mention the impairment of a child’s speech. Here are some options for treatment of microtia:

Non-surgical treatment

Non-surgical options involve the installation of a silicone prosthetic ear, which is custom-made to resemble the actual ear. This prosthetic can easily be removed if necessary, for example before bed or swimming or if the child wears a helmet for sports. However, this non-invasive method primarily is for cosmetic and aesthetic reasons only and in no way can restore or enhance one’s hearing.

Cartilage Surgery

The most common procedure to reverse microtia is traditional cartilage surgery; where cartilage is taken from the child’s ribcage, then grafted, molded and crafted to match the symmetry of the amount of ear currently intact. The new cartilage and skin are positioned underneath where the missing part of the ear would be and as the child grows, the new ears grow as well. Approximately 97% of parents who opt for surgical treatment of their child with microtia use this method.

MEDPOR Implant Surgery

Less common but as effective is MEDPOR Implant Surgery, which uses a microporous high-density polyethylene implant to reconstruct the ear.  The MEDPOR implant is made of malleable, 100% biocompatible polyethylene to create a mold or implant of the patient’s healthy ear; the doctor then carefully matches its exact shape and projection. Next, it is attached to the deformed ear, followed by the grafting of the patient’s skin tissue to cover the new ear structure, thus forming a matching healthy ear. Typically done as an outpatient procedure, the MEDPOR usually requires only one surgery and results in minimal scarring.

The Medpor Implant surgery can begin as early as 3 years of age, however, some surgeons feel this may be too early for elective surgery on a child, while others prefer not to speculate as to the size of the MEDPOR (MEDPOR does not grow with the child) before a child has matured a bit.  

Was your child born with microtia? If so, consider reaching out to Dr. Eric J. Stelnicki and the staff at the Atlantic Center of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Stelnicki is an experienced board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon who specializes in pediatric craniofacial surgery and has successfully diagnosed and treated children with a wide variety of congenital ear deformity conditions, including microtia.

For a consultation with Dr. Stelnicki to discuss your child’s surgical and nonsurgical options, call the Atlantic Center today at (954) 983-1899 or request an appointment online for either an office of telemed visit. With locations in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Boynton Beach, and Naples, the Atlantic Center can provide the caring, compassionate and responsive care your child needs. We also serve patients in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.