What are the Pros and Cons of Microtia Ear Reconstruction Surgery?

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Published: 18th July 2011
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Microtia refers to congenital deformity of the ear in which the outer and middle ear is not properly developed. Children born with this condition suffer from different grades of ear deformities, the most severe of which is the complete absence of the ear or anotia. As the condition affects the external canal and middle ear, it also results in loss of hearing. Microtia surgery involves correcting this deformity. It is a procedure that must be performed by a skilled surgeon to be successful. This article discusses the pros and cons of microtia ear reconstruction surgery.

The Process of Microtia Reconstruction

The basic steps in the reconstruction surgery are as follows:
  • Cartilage framework construction
  • Dissection of auricular vestige and placement of framework
  • Lobule shaping
  • Lifting of the ear
  • Shaping of the external ear canal

In reconstructive surgery for microtia, cartilage is taken from another place in the body, usually the ribs, and used to replace the ear cartilage. A new earlobe is created from the tissue. A skin graft completes the procedure. The sequence and results, however, depend on the surgeon's chosen technique. In any case, the surgery necessitates a hospital stay of at least two days.

Microtia Treatment Pros and Cons

The treatment offers many advantages:

A patient who undergoes microtia surgery gains self-confidence and achieves an enhanced appearance of the ear. Children with deformities of the ear usually have a difficult time coping with the impairment. Surgery sets right the congenital deformity and helps them to lead a normal life. IN some cases hearing can be also significantly improved.

The surgery also helps them gain self esteem. Having a facial deformity can expose children to ridicule and lead to psychological trauma. Microtia reconstruction gives them a normal looking ear, and this in turn, provides them the much needed self confidence.

However, ear reconstruction surgery is not without its problems. The main issues relate to:
  • Rib donor site problems
  • Ischemia or destruction of tissue of the skin envelope
  • Ischemia of the transposed earlobe
  • Infections
  • Hematoma or collection of blood outside the blood
  • vessels
  • Seroma or fluid formation
  • Failed reconstruction
  • Lack of symmetry between the ears
  • Lack of definition in the reconstructed ear
  • Inadequacy of projection
  • Change of surgical results as the patient gets older
  • Flaws in surgical planning

Choose the Surgeon with Care

The reasons for microtia have not been fully identified. It can be caused by a reduced blood flow to the ear during the fetal stage. In any case, it occurs during the developmental stage. The ideal time for reconstruction is after the child has turned seven. This is the time when the physical development of the ear attains a certain size, and so will not cause a severe distortion between the repaired ear and the normal one.

Notwithstanding the pros and cons of microtia ear reconstruction surgery, it is important to choose an experienced board-certified surgeon to do the operation. Ear reconstruction is a very delicate task and precise results are very much related to skill and experience. Some established surgeons specialized in correcting facial disfigurements provide services to children regardless of financial resources.

About The Author: Houston Plastic Surgery - Microtia ear reconstruction surgery can be performed at any time after the child is large enough to allow for enough cartilage to be taken.

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