Types Of Ear Deformities And Treatment Options

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We all are born with different shapes and sizes of ears.

However, ear deformities in newborns are quite common. Some are born with abnormal ear sizes, such as prominent ears, protruding ears, and asymmetrical ears. Some are born with congenital ear defects where the outer ear is underdeveloped or completely absent, such as microtia, anotia, and lop ear. Apart from this, ear deformities can also occur as a result of an accident or trauma. In this blog, let’s learn about ear deformities and their treatment in detail.

How Do Ear Deformities Occur In Newborns?

Although the complete analysis for ear deformities in newborns is unknown, there are a few reasons that might be the cause of ear deformities. Lack of blood supply during fetal development, medication intake, or genetic modification can affect the growth of the baby's ears while the baby is developing in the mother's womb.

Types Of Ear Deformities

  • Microtia

Microtia, also known as small ears, is a disorder where the external ear is not developed completely. Most children born with microtia have a normal inner ear, but only the outer ear structure is missing. It can occur in one or both ears.

  • Anotia

Anotia is a congenital deformity in which the external ear is completely absent. Anotia can lead to conductive hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss refers to the situation when the sound waves are not transferred properly from the external ear canal to the eardrum.

  • Cup Ear

The deformity where the top rim of the ear is folded, tight, or wrinkled is known as a cup ear. The deformity of a cup ear can range from mild to severe. In mild conditions, only the rim of the upper ear is folded and in severe conditions, the helix cartilage and scapha of the ear are squeezed forming a roll.

  • Cryptotia

Cryptotia, also known as the hidden ear. In this condition, the ear fails to separate and rise from the skin which means that the upper portion of the ear is buried under the skin of the scalp.

  • Prominent Ear

The prominent ear, also known as the bat ear, is an abnormally protruding human ear where the concha is large with poorly developed anti-helix and scapha. This deformity is more of a cosmetic concern than a medical issue, as these types of ears do not cause any functional problems. Prominent ears can be corrected with both surgical and non-surgical options.

Treatment for ear deformities

Ear deformities can be treated with various types of ear corrective or reconstruction surgeries but the new method of reconstruction involves only two stages. One can restore the natural looking ear shape by sculpting the autologous rib cartilage framework. This two-stage approach is performed about 6-12 months apart, to allow healing between each stage. It is one of the best reconstructive treatments because there is no substitute for one’s own rib cartilage when it comes to ear reconstruction surgery. There is absolutely nothing identical in our body that can be used as an alternative. Also, the implants have a very high chance of catching an infection. Lastly, temporoparietal fascia is also used during the surgery so there is just about nothing to fall back on.

In the first stage of the treatment, the rib cartilage is taken out and carefully sculpted into a framework that is shaped like an ear. Further, inside the skin pocket underneath the scalp in the skull, the designed framework is implanted. This framework, within 3-5 months, becomes incorporated and part of the patient’s live tissue. After the successful completion of stage one, the second stage of surgery is performed to improve the shape and appearance of the scars.

What Is The Right Time For An Ear Reconstruction Treatment?

Ear malformations occur due to a wide range of birth defects, and these deformities are usually noticeable at the time of birth. Although the body image concept usually begins to form when the baby is around four to five years of age. Choosing the right time for the operation is a major factor for achieving stable and long-lasting results.

Ears are grown about 85 percent by the age of six, and the correct time of surgery is when the child is 8-12 years of age. By this time, a young patient’s rib growth provides substantial cartilage to permit a quality framework. Therefore, there is no need to wait for a child to complete his/her adolescent period for microtia surgery. Early surgery can save them from being psychologically traumatized by their peer's cruel ridicule.

What causes ear deformity?

Congenital ear deformities can be caused by genetic disorders, medication intake, or inadequate blood supply at the time of fetal development.

Why should ear deformities be treated?

Structural ear defects can lead to problems like ear infection, hearing loss, and cosmetic issues which make an individual self-conscious of their overall appearance.

What is the best treatment for ear deformities?

With otoplasty or ear reconstruction, all types of cosmetic ear defects can be corrected and one can achieve a normal-looking ear shape. The rib cartilage technique is one of the best and safest ear surgeries. It is performed in two stages, with a gap of 5-6 months.

For detailed information and guidance on ear reconstructive surgery, visit Designer Bodyz and get a consultation from Dr. Parag Telang, an expert ear reconstructive surgeon.