Microtia Reconstruction

Microtia is a congenital problem in which there is a malformed, underdeveloped outer ear (auricle). Microtia occurs in newborn infants with a population frequency of 0.03 percent. Once the hearing issues have been taken care of for the infant, which is the initial priority, attention may be directed to reconstruction of the auricle. This procedure is usually performed when the child is at least four years of age or older.

Reconstruction of the auricle for microtia is accomplished through a series of operations. In the first stage, the child’s own rib cartilage is carved and sewn to create a reconstructed auricle that is placed under the skin on the side of the child’s head. In the second stage, the child’s ear lobe, which is usually too high and too far forward, is moved to a more natural-looking location. In the third stage, the reconstructed auricle has a skin graft placed under it to bring it away from the side of the head. In the last stage, the appearance of an opening in the auricle is created by making a pocket in the center of the ear, and the bump in front of the opening is created, called a tragus.