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Frequently Asked Questions About Microtia

What is Microtia?

Microtia is a common birth defect where the outer and middle ear does not develop fully and may require microtia surgery. The literal meaning comes from the Latin words micro and otia, or “little ear”. At birth, a normal ear includes a fully formed external ear and a middle ear that transmits sound waves to the inner ear and brain.

External Ear Deformity

Microtia patients do not have a normal external ear, but have a small protrusion or nub where the ear should be. The level of severity is graded according to the amount of deformity to the outer and middle ear.


It occurs approximately in 1 in every 7,500 births in the U.S. but the numbers vary greatly depending upon ethnicity. Hispanics and Asians have a higher rate of occurrence than African-Americans and Caucasians.


Dr. Jones with a small patientThe four grades of Microtia are:

  • Grade 1: Minimal deformity, only a slightly smaller ear than normal and ear canal is present
  • Grade 2: A partial, miniature ear with a closed off ear canal that results in hearing loss.
  • Grade 3: Only a small, peanut-like trace of an external ear and an absence of an ear canal and ear drum. This is the most common type of microtia and can be corrected by surgery.
  • Grade 4: Complete absence of the ear also known as anotia, which is Latin for “no ear”.

Patient Breakdown

In only 10% of microtia cases both ears are affected and patients are twice as likely to have the right side affected over the left side. As for gender differences, the majority of patients are boys at 65%.

Hemifacial Microsomia

Microtia is part of a range of facial asymmetry deformities known as Hemifacial Microsomia or HFM. Patient with HFM almost always have microtia but may have other craniofacial deformities involving the skull, ear, jaws, soft tissues and nerves of the face. Depending on the severity of the deformity, hearing may be minimally or majorly affected.

Contact us today for more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mark Mitchell Jones of Atlanta Plastic Surgery Specialists.

Atlanta Plastic Surgery Specialists, P.C.

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The BEST decision I have ever made! Dr. Jones' bedside manner is remarkable, his staff is caring and made me feel individualized. I didn't want a factory line breast augmentation, so I researched surgeons and Jones stood out above the rest due to his expertise, study, knowledge, and specialized techniques. And that is what I wanted when I came to my body. My desired results were achieved with my health being priority. Surgery and recovery went without a hitch. Friends and family, some who have had the same procedure themselves, call his work exceptional!!

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First I want to say what a great group of assistants Dr.Jones has working for him. They are professional, efficient and organized. All of them are nice and will work closely with your schedule. As for Dr. Mark Jones you can find a better doctor he is "Magical" when it comes to surgery. I'm in my third stage of microtia and every surgery he's calm and reassuring that everything will turn out. He does what he says he going to do, and accurate on what the turnout will be. If I had to go through this again I wouldn't go to anyone else. Thank you Dr. Mark Jones.

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My experience with Atlanta Plastic Surgery Specialists was really great. I liked Dr. Jones from the minute I met him. He answered all my questions and took any time necessary to explain everything to me about surgery options. He is friendly and professional and he and his staff made me feel at ease immediately. Surgery was a success and I am thrilled. I would recommend Dr. Mark Jones and his staff to anyone.

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Working with Dr. Jones is truly a pleasure. It is a noticeable difference how much he cares for each individual patient, taking time to listen to their questions, concerns, and goals. His experience is unmatched and he helps each patient create a treatment plan that matches their desired outcomes.