Atresia Microtia Article Feature in Earline - Merel Den Boer By Alice Ting, MPH ACSW on October 31, 2014

Atresia and Microtia: Is There Nothing To Do? Or Are There Treatment Options?

Merel Den Boer from Rossum is a wonderful young girl of eleven years old. However, nobody is perfect…even Merel. She has Atresia Microtia and wears a BAHA hearing aid.

Mandy den Boer-Kieboom: "Merel was born with Microtia Atresia. Merel is deaf on the right side, and she is missing an outer ear. We immediately started looking for the best care and treatment for ENT doctors, plastic surgeons and experts for language development. When Merel was born they said, 'Too bad, she has to deal with it for the rest of her life,' and said things such as, 'Why is there a need to operate on her? She hears well with one ear' or 'Isn’t that hearing aid still working out for her? Nobody sees it, because she wears her hair down.' But we noticed that as Merel got older, social and emotional problems arised by her deviation from not having a normal outer ear and normal hearing on her right side ear."

By coincidence Mandy hears of a treatment in the United States, where Dr. Joseph Roberson an Atresia surgeon, can make a canal in the inner ear. He collaborates with Dr. John Reinisch, who is a plastic surgeon that can perform Medpor ear reconstruction to give Microtia patients an outer ear. "When I heard this I thought: Fantastic! But on the other hand it frustrated me, because why hasn't any doctor told me about these possibilities before? When I spoke to the doctors about it, they said yes we are familiar with these operations but they will not tell the parents about this. "I think everyone who is interested in surgery for Atresia Microtia should know about all treatment options available to them out there'. It is up to the parents to decide on the option for their child.

Last May in 2014, Mandy Den Boer organized an Atresia  Microtia conference day. In this conference, Dr. Roberson and Dr. Reinisch, two American specialists, Dr. Corstiaan Breugem from UMC Utrecht, Dr. Myrthe Hol from Radboud Hospital in Nijmegen and Cochlear Europe, Oticon Medical, MED-EL and Sophono as suppliers of hearing implants were present. "The turnout was overwhelming," says Mandy. "Many parents were more than grateful that they could attend this informative day. There were even people from Belgium, Bulgaria, Ireland, Romania and even South Africa. In 2015 I will definitely organize a conference day again.”

It's exciting for Merel to get ear reconstruction. She had just returned with her parents form the United States. To see updates on Merel, please check Facebook Microtia Netherlands or e-mail Mandy at



Dr. John Reinisch, MD

Reinisch Plastic Surgery

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