Understanding the Causes of Microtia
If your child was born with microtia, you may be struggling to understand why. How did this condition develop? Is microtia genetic? Did you do something to cause your child’s condition? Although scientists still have a lot to learn about the causes of microtia, Beverly Hills specialist Dr. John Reinisch wants parents to know that this rare condition is not their fault. As researchers work diligently to learn more about the underlying causes of microtia, there is still a large amount of information available about the condition. Parents can help their children by learning more about microtia, its effects, and the various treatment options available. To speak to a microtia expert and explore various state-of-the-art treatments, contact Dr. Reinisch today.
Microtia is a congenital condition, which causes a child to be born with a small, malformed, or missing ear. For 90% of microtia patients, the condition only affects one ear. Because microtia is so rare, it is rarely detected on prenatal ultrasounds. The condition can also come as a surprise to parents because children with microtia rarely have a family history of the irregularity. Microtia is especially rare in the U.S., where only 1 in every 8,000-10,000 children is born with this condition each year. Incidents of microtia are higher in other countries, however, particularly in Central and South America, and China sees more instances of microtia than anywhere else in the world. Dr. Reinisch sees patients from around the world, and he is a globally recognized name thanks to his innovations and advanced surgery for aesthetic correction and hearing restoration.
Stages of Microtia
There are four stages, or grades, of microtia:
- Stage 1 is characterized by a small ear with mostly normal external development. Patients with Stage 1 microtia may have a narrowed or missing ear canal.
- Stage 2 is typified by some irregular external development, especially in the top two-thirds of the ear. Stage 2 patients often have a missing or narrowed ear canal.
- Stage 3 is the most common stage of microtia. Patients with this stage of microtia have small, underdeveloped ears with no ear canal.
- Stage 4 microtia patients have no external ear structure or ear canal.
Dr. Reinisch is renowned for his ability to treat all four stages of microtia.
Effects of Microtia
Children with all stages of microtia may face harassment and bullying, particularly at school. However, the most obvious difficulty for microtia patients is the decreased hearing ability resulting from a narrowed or missing ear canal. Although patients can still hear out of the unaffected ear, diminished hearing can make it difficult to detect individual sounds in noisy environments. When a patient can only hear on one side, the brain has difficulty filtering out background noise and determining which direction noises are coming from. This diminished hearing can cause trouble for patients, especially in school and social settings. In some cases, it can also lead to speech impairment.
Learn More About Treatment Options
Fortunately, Dr. Reinisch offers advanced treatment for both the cosmetic problems and the hearing difficulties associated with microtia. His innovative MEDPOR® technique allows him to create an external ear structure using a child’s own tissues - a procedure which offers a number of benefits. He also works with an otologist to enhance hearing and, if possible, create a new ear canal to more fully restore this sense. Contact Dr. Reinisch to learn more about microtia and his renowned treatment options.