Microtia is a congenital ear deformity that impacts the composition and appearance of the ear’s cartilage. It is most common in male children. Though it primarily appears in the right ear, about 10% of patients experience the deformity in both ears. There are four common types or “grades” of Microtia. Depending on the severity of the deformity, this condition can have little effect on a patient’s hearing, or impact it greatly. Below is a brief overview of the different grades.
Though there is usually firm tissue at the upper end of the ear and often normal shaping of the vertical back edge, the ear may appear to be generally smaller than normal. Any noticeable deformities will usually be found at the low end of the ear lobe.
This grade is identified by the fact that some of the common cartilage features of the ear are missing. There is usually a small lower ear lobe and connective posterior cartilage.
More commonly know as “Classic Microtia” or “peanut ear,” all anatomic ear cartilage subunits are present but are misshapen like a small peanut in this deformity. Though there is usually firm tissue at the upper end of the ear and some shaping of the vertical back edge, the earlobe is deformed at the low end. In rare cases there can be an external auditory canal. But in most cases, it is absent, which is a condition known as Atresia.
In extreme cases, there is no ear cartilage or auditory canal present. This condition requires complete surgical construction of a new ear and opening of the auditory canal.
Whether your child has a Grade 1, 2, or 3 condition, there are options available that can restore the appearance and function of their ears. A consultation with Dr. Jones will help you determine what course of action is best.