When a person is born with deformities of their ear or is seriously injured in an accident, the phychological stress for them and their families can be overwhelming. At Knoxville Plastic & Craniofacial Surgery, Dr. Hall performs ear reconstruction surgery to help those with ear deformities return to their normal life with confidence.
Generally, it is better to treat children born with ear deformities while they are young. One of the main reasons to do this surgery early is to avoid teasing and peer ridicule, which usually begins around age 5 or 6. The types of ear deformities that Dr. Hall treats include:
- Prominent ears (“Dumbo ears”)
- Misshapen or malformed ear cartilage
Microtia, or “little ear” is a congenital deformity that is characterized by the underdevelopment of the middle and outer ear. It is relatively common, occurring in 1 in 7500 live births in the United States, and has a higher rate in Hispanics and Asians than in Caucasians.
In 90% of children with microtia, only one ear is affected (usually the right), but occasionally microtia will affect both ears.
Depending on the severity of the microtia, the hearing may be affected, as the bones of the middle ear may be smaller and the ear canal itself may be narrow. In many cases, simply creating a normal outer ear can improve hearing by allowing the sound to be amplified by the new, reconstructed ear.
Microtia is a mild form of hemifacial microsomia, a congenital anomaly characterized by small ears, undergrown jaws, and, possibly, nerve damage in the face on one side. In addition to ear reconstruction surgery, children with hemifacial microsomia should be evaluated to see if they are a candidate for mandible distraction surgery. This is something Dr. Hall will pay close attention to when he meets with you and your child.
The Ear Reconstruction Procedure
Ears that are simply misshapen can be treated within the first 6 weeks of life with the EarWell™ to reshape the cartilage and give your child a natural looking ear. Microtia or anotia is treated around 5 or 6 years old. Dr. Hall will use your child’s own rib cartilage to rebuild the missing parts of the ear. Since it is natural tissue, it is much more resistant to future injury and will give your child a lasting, natural looking ear.
If you have any questions about your child’s ear pattern reconstruction surgery or would like to meet with Dr. Hall to discuss your options, call (865) 973-9500 or use our contact form and request an appointment. For out of town patients, feel free to request an online consult via Skype.