Microtia Repair – Ear Reconstructive Surgery
Microtia is a birth deformity of the ear that occurs about one in 5,000-7,000 births, which results in non-formed or a malshapen ears. In different countries and in different ethnic races the rate may be even higher. When broken down in Latin, the term “microtia” is easy to understand. Micro=small; Otia=ear. Typical microtia, grade 3, looks like a little sausage-shaped Wrinkle of skin. A grade 2 microtia is a less severe form and often looks like a miniature ear. Grade 1 microtia is a minimally deformed ear. 90 Percent of the time only one ear is involved, otherwise it occurs on both sides called “bilateral.” Interestingly, there are twice as many right-sided microtias than left and microtia involves boys 65 percent of the time and girls 35 percent.
Traditionally, there are two main methods for repairing microtia each using a different material for the ear framework. One method uses a living sculpture from the patient’s own tissues (rib cartilage) and the other uses a framework of firm artificial plastic. Doctor Jacono prefers to use the rib because it is your own bodily tissues instead of ear of foreign material that has a higher risk of infection and extrusion. Doctor Jacono will repair microtia after the age of 6. It cannot be done earlier as the rib cartilage used to reconstruct the ear needs to be large enough for carving an ear to match the opposite side.
Microtia reconstruction is performed in a series of four operations spread out over one year. Because of the young age, each procedure is performed under general anesthesia. The first procedure is the primary one where cartilage is harvested from the child's ribcage and carved into the framework of an ear. It is then implanted into its final site. The subsequent stages involve small alterations including the creation of an ear lobule and lateralizing the ear. The first procedure is usually associated with a 3-4 night hospital stay and subsequent procedures are performed on an outpatient basis.