New advances and procedures concerning Microtia are constantly being developed. Be an advocate for your child!
What is Microtia?
Microtia is an incompletely formed ear. It ranges in severity from a bump of tissue to a partially formed ear. In most cases, only one ear is affected. In that case, it is called Unilateral Microtia. If both ears are affected, it is called Bilateral Microtia. Unilateral Microtia occurs in 1 out of 8,000 births and Bilateral Microtia occurs in 1 out of 25,000 births.
Why did this happen?
At this time, no one knows why Microtia occurs; however, there is nothing to suggest that the mother's actions during pregnancy caused the Microtia. Further research is necessary to determine the exact cause.
Will this happen to other children I have in the future?
The possibility of passing microtia on to another child is believed to be less than 6%.
What kinds of problems could my child have?
In addition to the physical characteristics, your child may have some or all of these problems:
About a 40% reduction of hearing in the affected ear
Problems locating the direction from which a sound comes
Will my child need surgery?
Your child will either require reconstructive surgery to rebuild the outer ear or he/she may wish to wear a prosthesis. There are several types of prostheses and ear implants that are currently available and with 3D printing those options are being perfected every day. We suggest gathering information about all the options and visiting with others who have chosen different options.
The choices are increasing every year, so try to keep up with all of the current research. If you choose reconstructive surgery, it is a 3 to 4 step process, usually done two to three months apart. Surgical procedures usually begin around 6 years of age, because the ear is 90% of its adult size, so it is easier to determine the size of the ear that must be made.
Portions of ribs 5, 6, 7, and 8 are carved into the shape of the external ear
The ear is then grafted into place and the overlying skin is draped onto the graft
Other operations may be needed to rotate the lobule and possibly to reposition the cartilage framework into it's final position.
How do I get help for my child?
Your child should be treated by a qualified craniofacial medical team at a craniofacial center. Currently, FACES has information on many of these teams. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the craniofacial teams.
Please Contact Us for details.
Am I alone?
No! There are many families and organizations who will be glad to talk with you and help you with information and support. Don't forget books, videos, and websites. (Facebook has dozens of private groups specific to conditions. Try searching Facebook with a few different key words such as "craniofacial" or "burn" and find groups of parents and others with similar differences.) The information below will help you get started.
FACES: The National Craniofacial Association
We provide financial support for non-medical expenses to patients traveling to a craniofacial center for treatment. Eligibility is based on financial and medical need (Apply Here). Resources include newsletters, information about craniofacial conditions, and networking opportunities. Contact Us for more information.
Online Internet discussion support group
This excellent resource is under the direction of Steve Kazemir and includes 1400 members from all over the world who discuss all issues regarding Atresia and Microtia.
Facebook Microtia and Atresia Support Group
This is a nonprofit organization that has been developed as a network for those who have and know loved ones with the congenital deformity called Microtia and Atresia.
National Health Law Program
Provides extensive information on health care law affecting families with children who have special health care needs.
Phone: (202) 289-7661
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
The ASHA Action Center welcomes questions and requests for information from members and non-members.
The following websites contain excellent information pertaining to microtia:
Children with Facial Difference:
A Parent's Guide
Written by Hope Charkins, MSW. Excellent resource for parents to help them cope with medical, emotional, social, educational, legal, and financial challenges presented by facial differences of their children. Order from Amazon.com if you cannot find it in your local bookstore.