Frequently Asked Questions
1. As a mother, did I do something during my pregnancy to cause my child’s ear(s) to be underdeveloped or missing?
No, there is nothing a mother did to cause Microtia and Atresia if you had a healthy pregnancy. There are too many variables to compare in women all over the world with their lifestyles (such as the food they ate, the water they drank, altitude lived in, overall general health, medication taken, allergies/colds, and how active they were during their pregnancies, etc…). Sometimes, things just happen in utero that are unexpected, even with the healthiest of pregnancies.
2. Is Microtia and Atresia genetically inherited?
There is solid – yet preliminary – evidence that genetics plays a role in some patients. However, the majority of families who have a child born with Microtia and Atresia cannot find anyone in their family who has previously had underdeveloped or missing ears.
3. If my child can have reconstructive surgery, can I give my child my own ear for surgery?
Unfortunately not. A donor ear from a parent or relative will not survive on someone else. The tissue from another donor would be considered a foreign body to the recipient’s body and the donor tissue would not survive. Reconstructive surgery for a newly reconstructed ear would involve your child’s own tissue and biological materials needed to reconstruct an ear.
4. When considering reconstructive surgery, how soon can my child have ear surgery?
Many things must be taken into consideration when making the decision to have reconstructive surgery for Microtia and Atresia repair. Depending on how young a child is can help determine which surgical technique can be considered. The grade or severity of Microtia and Atresia can also affect the surgical technique you decide on because of how many stages of surgery may be required to reconstruct the ear (or ears) by using that specific surgical technique. Also, if considering the rib graft surgical technique for example, the surgeon may want the rib cartilage to have reached a certain maturity so that it is strong enough to be used during surgery. It may also be the surgeon’s preference for beginning surgery at a specific age for the child because of wanting to make sure the child does not pick at or rub the newly reconstructed ear and can help be responsible during the healing process.
5. At what age will my child notice his/her ear or begin asking questions?
By age three, most children discover that their ear or ears may be different from others and begin asking questions.
6. Should I raise my child differently because of having Microtia and Atresia?
It is important to raise any child with confidence, love and respect for him/herself. A child who is born with Microtia and Atresia is no different from any other child. Get to know your child’s personality and see what they would prefer if they are interested in making changes to their ear(s) in the future or keeping their ear(s) just the way they are.