Frequently Asked Questions
Dr. John Reinisch
Which specialists would I need to contact?
There are several specialists that may be involved in your child’s care and microtia treatment. Centers that have a Craniofacial Team or Microtia Team are well-equipped to work together to best provide for your child. Children with microtia would benefit from having:
- Craniofacial Pediatric Plastic Surgeon — the craniofacial surgeon will have completed training in general surgery, plastic surgery, and a fellowship in craniofacial surgery at a children’s hospital.
- Otologist — a surgeon that specializes in ears. The otologist will determine if your child is a good candidate for canal surgery and perform the surgery in conjunction with your ear reconstruction surgery. Depending on which treatment you decide for your child, you may need the canal made before, after, or in some cases during the ear reconstruction.
- Audiologist — a hearing specialist that performs hearing tests and coordinates hearing aids and other devices.
- Geneticist — a physician that specializes in categorizing different syndromes and counseling families on the possibility of future generations having microtia.
- Pediatric Oral Surgeon/Orthodontist — a surgeon that provides information on jaw alignment which can sometimes be affected on children with other syndromes such as Hemifacial Microsomia
- Social Worker — a social worker supports and counsels the patient and family affected by microtia to help them cope with the condition. They can help prepare the child for surgery.
- Speech Therapist — a specialist in diagnosing and treating any disorders of speech which can occur as a result of craniofacial deformities.
At our hospital, we have a specific Microtia Team within our Craniofacial Group, so we can organize all your appointments in one afternoon.
How do I talk to my child about surgery?
We have found that surgery is much harder on parents than their children and most parents respond afterward that it was much easier on their child than they thought it would be. At our hospital, we have Child Life Services that advise parents on preparing their children for surgery. They can be reached at 310-423-2380.
Why should I put my child through surgery when they are perfectly happy with a small ear? Am I doing the surgery for my child or for me?
Many parents continue to ask this same question even after they decide to have the surgery done. As a parent, you are your child’s greatest advocate. Families should decide which option is best for their child based on as much information as they can gather. Parents often find the best support from other parents who have already been through the process. There are several Yahoo support groups for microtia that you can join to assist you with your decision. Many parents create a blog of their child’s journey throughout the entire surgical process. Reading these blogs may be helpful in making your choice for your child.
Some suggestions from other parents
- Take time to work through all the emotions you are feeling. Please know that there are other parents who have felt the very same way you are feeling and that understand the emotions you are feeling.
- Talk about your feelings, fears, and concerns with your partner, a family member or close friend. It may help you feel better to talk about these things.
- Don’t blame yourself — there is nothing that you did or didn’t do that caused your child’s microtia. It is difficult to not focus on the things that are different about your child, but try to concentrate on everything that is wonderful about your beautiful new baby.
- Learn as much as you can about microtia. It is amazing how much you will learn in a small amount of time.
- Become an advocate for your child. This means, educate yourself about this condition and speak up for whatever you feel is in your child’s best interests.
Why wasn’t this picked up during my ultrasound?
There are several abnormalities that can be detected on an ultrasound, but ultrasound technicians usually focus on the major organs. External ears are not routinely checked during an ultrasound and may be difficult to assess.
One Surgery: Medpor® Ear Reconstruction