Microtia is a medical condition that often develops during the first trimester of pregnancy. This happens around the first weeks of pregnancy when the fetus develops. There is no direct cause linked to this condition; however, experts in the medical field attribute it to drug and alcohol use during pregnancy. It may also be caused by environmental triggers, genetic conditions, as well as diets lacking folic acid and low carbohydrates.
Other factors could put a child at risk of getting the microtia condition. These include the use of acne medication called Accutane and diabetes. Diabetic mothers before pregnancies have a higher risk of birthing a child with microtia.
A pediatrician diagnoses this condition through keen observation. Then, with the help of an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist, the condition can be further assessed and concluded upon.
The Treatment Options for Microtia
With the revolutionized medical field, there are plenty of options for treating microtia. However, with surgery being the top medical procedure undertaken, it cannot be done to infants. Older candidates have a better chance of getting their outer ears fixed and can get the opportunity to hear much better.
Rib Cartilage Graft Surgery
This is the first surgical procedure that a child with microtia can undergo to better the condition. Typically, it may need two to four procedures over a few months for full results to occur. The procedure involved harvesting rib cartilage for a child’s chest, and it is used to come up with the shape of an ear. The ear-shaped cartilage is then implanted under the skin at the exact location where the ear should have been.
Once the ear cartilage has been incorporated, further corrective surgeries may follow to position it correctly. This type of surgery is recommended for children aged eight to ten years. The rib cartilage is strong and durable and is less likely to be rejected by the body.
Medpor Graft Surgery
This is a grafting surgery that involves implanting synthetic material instead of rib cartilage. This surgery can be done under one procedure, and it usually uses tissue from the scalp to cover the implant material.
This procedure is safe for children aged three years and above. The results from this procedure are more consistent. However, there are more chances of infection or injury since the implant is not incorporated into the tissue.
Prosthetic External Ear
Another common procedure to counter the microtia is the prosthetic external ear. These can look very real and practical and can be worn with an adhesive or a surgical anchor system.
Surgically Implanted Hearing Devices
Another remedy to microtia is the cochlear implant, especially in cases where a child’s hearing is affected by the condition. Once healed, a processor is introduced to help children hear sounds.
Therefore, microtia shouldn’t be considered a disability. Numerous remedies come in handy for children born with the condition. However, it takes the intervention of a reputable doctor to fix it well.