Surgery for Congenital Ear Deformity (Microtia)
Patients with congenital ear deformity typically have misshapen ears noted at birth (and frequently also hearing loss). Reconstructive surgery typically occurs around age 6 or 7 depending on the child’s growth and development. Reconstruction is done either by borrowing cartilage from the rib to create an ear framework, or by using an off-the-shelf implant in the shape of an ear.
The reconstructive surgeon starts by tracing a normal ear and using existing anatomic landmarks to estimate the position of the new ear. If rib is harvested, surgery lasts several hours and the patient remains in the hospital for 24-48 hours. If an implant is used, the procedure takes 1-2 hours and is done on an outpatient basis.
Both reconstructive surgery methods (rib and implant) require several separate procedures to best correct the deformity. This staged process is outlined in detail with the patient during the preoperative planning process.